MONTREAL, July 9, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - In the aftermath of the train fire
in Nantes and the devastating explosion in Lac-Mégantic, the United
Steelworkers (USW), which represents 75 Montreal, Maine & Atlantic
Railway employees, extends its thoughts and sympathies to the families
and friends of victims of this tragedy.
We also wish to affirm our support to our members in USW Local 1976 who
are enduring a difficult and painful situation, as well as our fellow
USW members who live and work in Lac-Mégantic and the surrounding area.
For the benefit of ongoing investigations by the Transportation Safety
Board and the Sureté du Québec, the USW will not be commenting publicly
on the circumstances of the tragic events in Nantes and Lac-Mégantic.
Union representatives continue to be available to all appropriate
authorities to assist in the investigations.
The 75 members of USW Local 1976 who work for Montreal, Maine & Atlantic
Railway have been represented by our union since 2000, prior to the
purchase of the railway operations by the current owner Rail World Inc.
in 2003. Since that time, three collective agreements have been
negotiated between the union and the company, including the existing
contract that expires in 2014.
The rail lines currently operated by the MMAR were previously owned by
CP Rail, into the late 1990s. The sale by CP was part of the arrival of
so-called "short lines" in Canada, some of which consist of rail
operations that were abandoned by large rail companies. These
short-line operations do not have the levels of resources that large
corporations such as CN and CP Rail have to maintain rail lines.
Consequently, the United Steelworkers believes the federal government
must tighten its regulatory measures with respect to operating permits
and the safety and monitoring of rail transportation of hazardous
"Over the years the federal government has deregulated rail transport as
well as the aviation industry," said Daniel Roy, United Steelworkers'
"It is always dangerous to turn over the management and oversight of
public interests to corporations while limiting or reducing the role of
government. The federal government must reconsider its role and resume
greater responsibility for the regulation and safety of rail
transport," Roy said.
SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)
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