Victim of racial discrimination says union failed to protect him
MONTREAL -- A stage tech is taking his union to Quebec's labour tribunal because they failed to defend him after he was called a racial slur, he says.
Bienne Blemur, an experienced stage rigger, was called a racial slur by a colleague in 2016, he said. He spoke to his union about the incident and complained to his employer.
But the union didn't help him, he said, and the employer told him being called a racial slur was no worse than "to be laughed at for one's baldness."
After the complaint, he was reassigned to performing mostly menial tasks without an explanation, he said.
The union and Parc Jean-Drapeau agreed to conditions set out by a labour negotiator, but didn't follow through, CRARR director-general Fo Niemi said in October.
Stressed and not assigned the work he felt he was due, Blemur went on leave.
"My career finished like that," he said.
His union failed him, he said. The organization didn't adequately represent him in his complaint against his employer, and now they should be on the hook for legal fees he paid out of pocket.
Mathieu Laplante-Goulet, Blemur's lawyer, said the case h: it's about the ongoing challenge of confronting as broader implications about confronting racism in the workplace.
"[Racism] does exist. We need to confront it and we need to change things so that people can have a good life in Quebec," he said.
The union refused to comment on the case while it is still before a tribunal.