For approximately two years, Local 262 has been engaged in a fight for the right to represent workers of the Montreal Canadiens Game Zone Boutique at the Bell Centre. Formerly the Molson Centre, at 21,273 seats, the Bell Centre has the largest capacity of any NHL arena. The arena is a Montréal mainstay and in addition to hockey, has also been used for WWE & UFC events, pre-season NBA games and innumerable concerts.
The legal battle to represent these employees was protracted and expensive, and entailed, amongst other things, securing financial assistance from the International, filing three applications for certification of the employees, the involvement of a subcontractor, charges against the Canadiens and contending with another union that was claiming it now wanted to represent these workers. The local’s success was helped along, in no small part, by assistance through the FTQ and coverage provided by local media.
Ultimately, all legal challenges were settled and the local commenced negotiation for the 29 employees in the new bargaining unit. On November 18th, a tentative agreement was reached, and on November 30th, Local 262 members voted 81% in favour of the new agreement. The parties have also agreed to sign a legal document that will confirm the certification of the Arena des Canadiens Inc., at which time successorship rights will be transferred to the subcontractor. By doing so, the local has protected itself in case of any modification or transfer of the contract between the Montreal Canadiens and the subcontractor. IATSE’s International President Matthew D. Loeb welcomes the 29 new members to Local 262 and commented that the local “is to be commended for its persistence in the face of what seemed to be formidable odds.”