First President of the FTQ |  Magali Picard comes with “a new approach”

First President of the FTQ | Magali Picard comes with “a new approach”

(Montreal) Magali Picard on Thursday officially became the first woman and the first Aboriginal woman to chair Quebec’s largest trade union center, the Federation of Workers of Quebec (FTQ).

Posted 4:05pm Updated 5:00pm


Lia Levesque The Canadian Press

Elected unopposed, she can benefit from the experience of the FTQ’s number two, Denis Bolduc, who is entering a second term as general secretary.

The plant’s 1,200 delegates gave him a long ovation; some have spoken of a “historic” moment for the FTQ.

Sometimes brought to tears, Ms. Picard first spoke to the delegates about social justice, pride and fighting spirit.

“Proud Wendate of Wendake,” she said in an interview, “brings new energy” to the headquarter of more than 600,000 members, although she still has twenty years of activism behind her.

How will his leadership differ from the previous one?

Difference is a big word. I would rather say bring in new energy. I really want to infuse a new approach. What I would like is to make the FTQ accessible. I want to bring together not just FTQ activists, but all Quebec workers.

Magali Picard, new President of the Quebec Federation of Labour

She, who comes from a major federal public sector union, believes the struggles of workers in the private and public sectors are “quite similar”. For example, they talk about health and safety, work-family balance, minimum wage, telecommuting.

“The expectations of women, of equity groups, of many people are high, the hopes are there. And my intention is to continue what the FTQ has been doing for several years and also bring my colors and my experience,” she said.

governments and other unions

She, who has dealt primarily with the federal government, will have to work with the Coalition Avenir Québec government, which has a reputation for being anti-union.

“I am the spokesman for 600,000 workers. You have no choice but to sit with us, chat and listen to us. We are here to send them information and requests essential to Quebec’s safety and future, and to remind them of the importance of public services,” she said.

When it comes to relations with other unions, the FTQ’s tradition of openness to all must be reckoned with – which is not the case for all unions.

“Within the FTQ we have seen a unity that is very inspiring. We have no choice but to work together. The FTQ will certainly have discussions with the FIQ [Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé, qui représente les infirmières], with the whole common front. We have to pool our strength, it’s immense,” she demands.

She quickly becomes passionate when someone tells her about the minimum wage, which will increase from $14.25 to $15.25 an hour on May 1st. For some time, FTQ has advocated going “at least $18 an hour,” a threshold it said from the start it would revise depending on the inflationary and economic context.

“These are often jobs that are occupied by women. How are we going to make it clear to this administration that we see their game? That’s enough! May they respect the poorest in Quebec! We will fight for it until we win. It’s not normal that two people working for minimum wage have to go to a food bank. »