Centrale de l'enseignement du Québec

The Corporation des instituteurs et institutrices catholiques (CIC), co-founded by Laure GAUDREAULT came into being in 1946. Its name became the Corporation des enseignants du Québec in 1967, and was finally changed to The Centrale de l'enseignement du Québec (CEQ) in 1972.

Centrale de l'enseignement du Québec, The

The Corporation des instituteurs et institutrices catholiques (CIC), co-founded by Laure GAUDREAULT came into being in 1946. Its name became the Corporation des enseignants du Québec in 1967, and was finally changed to The Centrale de l'enseignement du Québec (CEQ) in 1972.

These changes in name alone reveal the ideological advancement of this trade-union organization. For twenty years, from its creation following a act voted on by the Québec government, the CIC developed to some extent apart from the organized trade unions. This situation changed with the imposition of compulsory arbitration following the adoption of the Labour Code in 1964 and the recognition of the public sector right to strike in 1965.

Workers' full realization of their working conditions took place in late 1966, and in November a strike movement was launched. In January 1967, more than 15 000 members were on strike and the Québec government, led by Premier Daniel JOHNSON, imposed a return to work with a particularly tough emergency act, bill 25, adopted on February 20. An inter-union demonstration (of the CSN FTQ and CEQ) joined by the Union générale des étudiants du Québec (Quebec student unions) took place, which gathered 10 000 people in front of the Québec National Assembly. It was the first of a series of confrontations between state-employer and union organizations consolidating their employees.

During the seventies, the speech and actions of the CEQ became more radical when it published, in quick succession, L'école au service de la classe dominante (1972) and École et lutte de classes au Québec (1974), two texts that stand out in the history of this union. This evolution from a form of corporation to a more radical trade union, brought the three principal Quebec union organizations, which formed a common front in 1971, closer together for the first time to negotiate for the working conditions of their members (see COMMON FRONT STRIKES). The CSN, FTQ and CEQ have, since 1972, joined forces on several occasions to oppose a united government front and employer associations in the public and para-public sectors.

In the eighties, the CEQ has endeavoured to increase its representation in the networks of the health and recreation sectors, However, in 2000, the great majority of its some 130 000 members found themselves in primary and secondary teaching. During their General Convention in June 2000, members of the CEQ decided to change the name of their union to Centrale des syndicats québécois (CSQ).