Montreal, September 13, 2000 - We have no wish to gloat today, no more than we had a year ago, at the time of the decision by arbitrator Hamelin noting the absence of dishonest, malicious, or fraudulent intent () by parking control officers in the parking ticket case, when we are confronted with the impressive report by the Quebec Municipal Board speaking of a botched and off-the-cuff analysis, following decisions taken beforehand with no regard for facts, and a refusal to adequately listen to the people involved ().
However, we will draw a parallel with the fate that was reserved for our members when the Board said that the appellants had been ridiculed and their self-esteem brought into play by their superiors as well as by management and personnel officers. The City of Montreal acted in an abusive way toward them (), said Monique Ct002c Vice-President of Montreal Public Employees (CUPE-QFL).
Municipal civil servants will not bear the blame for the City!
Apart from the fact that no decision, although belated, can ever repair the damage suffered by our members who are victims of summary public judgment and conviction, we have no intention of bearing the blame for an investigation which has never ended and which has failed in its integrity () according to the terms used by the Board.
We find it excessive that a City that has never proved that its employees committed fraud (), and, according to the terms of the Quebec Municipal Board, is claiming, by means of an employer grievance and contrary to its duty to act equitably, that hundreds of thousands of dollars be paid by the union for arbitrary expenses. In light of the decision by the Quebec Municipal Board, it is the union, at present, which is wondering if it should claim reimbursement for expenses and restitution for the damages suffered by our members, added the union leader.
The bond of trustit takes two to tango
The bond of trust between an employer and his employees was mentioned over and over again during the fall of 1998 to justify the hasty proceedings and the untimely statements made by the municipal authorities and mayor Bourque himself on a Montreal radio station, but this bond involves two players.
When the Quebec Municipal Board notes that The stability of all public administrations requires that we take into account the rights of municipal employees and that we justify any decision that affects them () and that, in this case, the defendant (the City of Montreal) did not acquit itself of this requirement to the satisfaction of the Board (), we must seriously question the real motives behind the disciplinary and media-oriented action accorded to these parking tickets during this 1998 election period.
Within this framework, the burden of proof is on the City as to the degree of trust that employees should give to administrators who use such political and media pressure tactics, Monique Ct0020said.
Learning a lesson and moving on
At a time when political turmoil is at its peak in the municipal sector because of Bills 124 and 134 with respect to the merger of municipalities and the creation of metropolitan communities, we believe that the administrators and elected officials should learn a lesson from the decision by the Municipal Board on how to treat those who deal with the public, our members.
Even if the judgment by the Municipal Board concerning upper management and elected officials in the City of Montreal is relatively severe, we think that we should look to the future and draw lessons from this sad episode so that municipal employees can finally be thought of as people who have chosen to serve the people, people who want quality services, and the way to do this is to withdraw immediately all sanctions against parking control officers, the union official concluded.
Source: Canadian Union of Public Employees (QFL)
Louis Cauchy, (514) 235-3996
Michl0065 Blais (514) 842-9463