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Chateauguay's snowbanks remain uncleared in row between mayor, blue collar workers


Chateauguay is still digging out from all the recent snow – but the mayor is underwater due to a municipal spat.

The South Shore city’s mayor, Eric Allard, called in trucks from the private sector to help after blue-collar workers refused to work evenings and weekends to get the job done.

“It is dangerous right now. People walking in the street, it's unacceptable,” Allard said of the snow, pointing to how students are walking in the streets from a local high school because there’s nowhere to walk on the sidewalk.

Allard said because the snow wasn’t being cleared quickly enough by city workers, he had to make a decision to call in workers from the private sector.

“We wanted to help the blue collars so we used the collective agreement. There's a clause there that allows us to call external trucks only for the snow removal process,” he said.

Allegedly, that's when the trouble started.

“Some people did not like the situation, even though it was in the collective agreement, and we got some intimidation, we got some vandalism,” said Allard.

Allard said the city has been dealing with death threats and vandalism.

He went on to explain there have been four instances of metal bars placed in snowbanks that damaged snowblowers.

“Metal rods that appear in snowbanks. I don't believe in hazards like that it's a deliberate act for sure,” said Allard.

A noose was placed in the boss's office in the municipal garage.

“There's some supervisor that entered a room and there was a hanging rope that was installed for them. It's unacceptable in 2023,” said Allard.

An urgent meeting was called between the city and workers in front of the labour board on Saturday night when a burst water pipe also went unfixed.

Both parties were called a second time Wednesday to appear before a judge.

The blue-collar workers union SCFP (Syndicat Canadien de la function publique) released a statement on the spat.

“During a labour relations meeting, the union and management agreed on the framework for blowing snow. We had found solutions, but despite this, the city did not take them into account and called on the private sector to do the work,” it said.

The next steps will be decided by the labour tribunal.

“We should be able to clear the city,” said Allard. “We should be able to make the city more secure because people are at risk walking so we're waiting for the decision of the tribunal.” Top Stories

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