Ste. Anne labour dispute heads to arbitration
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Ste. Anne de Bellevue Mayor Paola Hawa said grievances made during question period by Claude Sauvé, Director of the city’s unionized blue collar employees about two students who weren’t rehired for this summer, were better suited for an upcoming labour arbitration case and not a public council meeting forum.
A labour dispute between the Ste. Anne de Bellevue municipal administration and its blue collar union regarding the non-hiring of two students who had previously worked for city is heading for arbitration it was announced at the Monday evening council meeting, October 13.
The issue was raised during question period by Claude Sauvé, the Director of municipal blue collar workers’ union for the western part of the island, who claimed the two students were apparently not rehired under false pretense.
According to Sauvé, Francis Juneau and Dominique Hobson had worked for the city during the summer for the past four and three years respectively and anticipated being rehired but were asked to resubmit their applications which were rejected by the city administration in early May despite their previous experience.
The city’s rejection left both students scrambling to find alternate work arrangements at the last minute. While Juneau managed to secure a job a few weeks later within his field of study in business administration, Hobson managed to find only temporary part-time work which affected the amount of money she was able to earn for her studies.
When Sauvé questioned Mayor Paola Hawa as to why both students weren’t rehired, Hawa said the city’s hiring practices was an administrative and not a political issue and deflected the questions straight to Executive Director Martin Bonhomme.
Bonhomme tried to explain that the city’s decision had to do with a new hiring process that was implemented by its administration that everyone who was applying for a summer job had to go through an application process, a claim that was refuted by Sauvé.
“It was a politically motivated decision, but they can’t say that so they came out with a new procedure which makes no sense,” Sauvé told Your Local Journal. “Every municipality wants to keep their student employees. This way they don’t have to teach a new employee to do everything. Here, they go the complete opposite way which doesn’t make sense.”
Sauvé said he had three meetings with Bonhomme and the city’s administrators to try to settle the issue but was unsuccessful. “I tried to settle it and now I’m going to defend these two former employees the same way I would defend someone with 25 years seniority,” he said.
Hobson claimed that the two new student employees were hired without having their own valid driver’s licenses which is a violation of the union’s collective agreement with the city and that neither student received any formal safety training, which Sauvé corroborated.
“It’s costing the city money to hire new people,” said Sauvé. “They’re saying they want to hire new people to give a chance to everybody, but every time they hire someone new, they have to train them and give all the CSST safety courses. All the other cities around here want to keep their students. I’m originally a blue collar worker from Pointe-Claire and we had the same student for seven years.”
Hawa declined to comment, except to say, “Sauvé has every right to file a grievance. It happens in every city. They’ve chosen to bring it out here and put the pressure on. This isn’t where it belongs. It belongs at the tribunal. It just doesn’t belong here.”
When asked what he thought about Hawa’s unwillingness to publicly comment on the issue, Sauvé, who received the backing of several municipal employees who were also present at the meeting to support his stance said, “I’m not impressed with anything about her right now. The way I saw it, she threw everything at Mr. Bonhomme. It’s him who should be sitting in front. Maybe he should be the mayor.”