MONTREAL, Nov. 8, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ - In a landmark decision rendered on November 1, 2018, the Tribunal administratif du travail (TAT) concluded that Mount Stephen Club's actions were in violation of the law and ruled in favour of the Confédération des syndicats nationaux, even going so far as to dismantle two unions of convenience established through the employer.
"This is a major victory for us, as it tells employers that they cannot abuse illegal tactics with impunity to harm unions. First, the TAT acknowledged that Mount Stephen Club's (MSC) public charges against the CSN were only meant to interfere with the work of the Mount Stephen Club–CSN Workers' Union (STTMSC) in order to make it vulnerable since, ultimately, MSC had no intention to close its doors permanently," said David Bergeron-Cyr, President of the Fédération du commerce (FC-CSN). "In this unprecedented decision, the evidence presented was so solid that the TAT went so far as to dissolve the two unions of convenience created by the employer – these were even qualified as 'shop unions' – because of apparent collusion in a number of matters between the employer and its representative."
In 2012, MSC closed its doors and blamed the STTMSC for it, claiming that salary demands were too high and negotiations were too rigid.
"The TAT also voided two dismissals. Based on evidence, MSC arbitrarily dismissed two waiters in order to prevent them from communicating with the CSN," said the President of the FC-CSN. "MSC even refused to hire a worker on the sole ground that he was a CSN member in another Montreal restaurant and that, in an interview, he had pointed out he was fine working in a unionized establishment."
Finally, the TAT acknowledges that as soon as the accreditation was filed, MSC continued to obstruct the STTMSC's work through a series of actions that prevented it from contacting its members. In particular, the employer favoured the arrival of another shop union in order to organize the hotel's new employees even before it reopened. By doing so, the employer was trying to block the already legally constituted union affiliated to the CSN. In 2011, Mount Stephen Club workers had quickly organized into a union following arbitrary management and favouritism towards new employees, a practice that is unfortunately all too common in the restaurant industry.
"There are far too many employers in the restaurant industry call the shots and impose totally illegal conditions on their employees. When they're not reclaiming all tips and giving only some of them back to their waitresses and waiters, which is absolutely against the law, they're charging their employees for uniforms or dismissing them as soon as they call for respect for their labour rights. That's why we launched the Syndicat des employé-es de la restauration-CSN (SER), to offer these workers the opportunity to join forces against unscrupulous employers," said Mr. Bergeron-Cyr.
"Today, we are taking the lead: if the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) really wants to modernize unions, let it establish clear rules in the restaurant industry to address current issues that are undermining labour relations, and put an end to the arbitrariness that prevails in this sector. Not all restaurateurs do this, but with so many offenders, it is only with a relationship of equals that employees can finally hope to get the respect they deserve," concluded the President of the FC-CSN.
The FC-CSN has 30,000 members in 330 unions in the wholesale and retail trade, agri-food, finance and tourism sectors.
Founded in 1921, the CSN is a trade union federation that works towards a cohesive, democratic, just, fair and sustainable society. To this end, the CSN takes part in many debates that concern Quebec society. The CSN represents more than 300,000 workers on a sectoral or professional basis within eight federations, as well as regionally via 13 central councils, primarily in the province of Quebec.
SOURCE Fédération du commerce (FC-CSN)
For further information: Martin Petit, CSN Communications Department, [email protected], 514-894-1326