Friday, July 28, 2017

Union boss Chantal Racette learns calling judge a 'fucking idiot' not a good idea

Chantal Racette
The union boss representing Montreal blue-collar workers has learned the hard way that calling a judge who rules against you a “fucking idiot” is not a recipe for future courtroom success.

The Journal de MontrĂ©al reported in February that union president Chantal Racette told a meeting of members that Superior Court Justice Danielle Grenier, who had just ordered the union to pay $2 million in punitive damages for an illegal 2004 walkout that turned downtown sidewalks into skating rinks, was a “crisse de folle.”

Chantal Racette

Chantal Racette
The slur “crisse de folle” is the equivalent of “fucking idiot” in English. At the same meeting, Racette said she feels like taking a baseball bat to the forehead of the employer when he threatens to contract out work to the private sector.

The union went to court to delay payment of the damages, equal to roughly 30 per cent of its annual $7-million budget, while it seeks leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. But this week the Quebec Court of Appeal told the union to pay up immediately. Grenier had harsh words for the union in her ruling.

The walkout, coinciding with a freezing-rain storm, meant that sidewalks received no salt or abrasives.
The judge called the union actions “reprehensible” and accused its members of holding the population hostage for more than a week. The class action was brought by 49 victims who suffered varying degrees of injury.

2,400 blue collar workers were suspended by the City of Montreal for walking off the job. They are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
The embattled president of Montreal’s 6,500-member blue-collar union survived a no-confidence vote January 12, securing 66 per cent support from the 914 members who cast their ballots. Union president Chantal Racette had called the vote this week after allegations she has been spying on members on her executive. A Journal de MontrĂ©al article revealed she ordered GPS devices be secretly installed on the cars of members of her executive in November to track their whereabouts.

The validity of the vote was brought into question before it even began because members of her executive were not consulted beforehand as required.
Efforts to offer an independent union and oust Racette continue. The union remains under guardianship until further notice. The Chair, Ms. Racette, has been relieved of her duties as have the three other members of the Executive Committee.

All other elected directors remain in office "but without effective authority".