FTQ gives in to National Assembly request, launches independent inquiry

The Federation des travailleurs et travailleuses du Quebec, FTQ, building is seen in Montreal on Tuesday, June 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Following a motion passed in the National Assembly demanding an inquiry into the events leading up to the election of Rénald Grondin as president of the FTQ-Construction, the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ) is doing an about-face and launching its own investigation.

In a press release sent late Wednesday, the FTQ said it had taken note of the motion tabled earlier in the day by the Minister of Employment and Labour, Jean Boulet, and adopted unanimously by the MNAs.

In response, the FTQ and FTQ-Construction are "announcing the holding of an independent inquiry," it said. The union adds that "the modalities and the mandate remain to be specified,",but says it wants to "get to the bottom of things" and "shed light on the recent revelations that led to the resignation" of Grondin. An independent firm will be in charge of the investigation.

On Tuesday, the union said it would take a series of measures to prevent a similar situation from happening again, such as reviewing internal policies and adding mandatory training.

However, he ignored Boulet's request for an investigation into the events to understand how Grondin could have become president of one of Quebec's largest unions.

On Wednesday, the minister returned to the charge with a motion in which the National Assembly noted that all organizations must be exemplary in preventing psychological and sexual harassment, and that the construction industry is no exception.

The industry has a responsibility to "ensure a healthy workplace free of all forms of harassment for all workers," the motion stated.

It also points out that in 2021, women represented only 3.27 per cent of the total construction industry workforce, and that approximately 55 per cent of women leave construction sites after five years.

The National Assembly demands that the FTQ launch an investigation to shed light on the recent revelations concerning the presidency of the FTQ-Construction.

On April 28, Grondin resigned as president of the FTQ-Construction, in the wake of revelations that he had harassed a secretary for two years.

According to the Commission des lésions professionnelles, the events occurred between 2008 and 2010, when Grondin was general manager of the Association Des Manoeuvres Inter Provinciaux, affiliated with FTQ-Construction.

Grondin became president of the FTQ-Construction, the largest union organization in the construction industry with 85,000 members, in 2018.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 4, 2022. 

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