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Montreal blue collars want local union probe after VP resigns over racist posts

May 12, 2023
The Canadian Press

Some Montreal blue collar workers are calling for their union to be investigated for alleged racial bias.

The workers are asking the provincial branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees to investigate its Montreal local, after one of the local’s vice-presidents recently resigned over racist social media posts.

On May 9 union leadership said Gaetan Archambault had resigned after his alleged racist and Islamophobic posts came to light, adding that the local had zero tolerance for discrimination and racism.

But the workers said today they regularly face racism on the job and no longer have confidence in their union’s leadership to defend them.

The members are also marking the two-year anniversary of a 2021 report that described a racist and toxic work environment against visible minorities in the Montreal-Nord borough.

Members say that while the borough has created committees to address racism and provided workers with diversity training, more needs to be done.

City worker Gino Clyford Luberisse says the local executive must be placed under trusteeship if the provincial union deems it necessary.

Fo Niemi, with non-profit civil rights group Center for Research-Action on Race Relations, is assisting some of the workers and says the concern about union leadership is widespread among members.

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