MONTREAL, May 26, 2014 /CNW/ - A legal defence fund has been launched to
help pay costs to be incurred by railway workers charged in connection
with last year's tragedy in Lac-Mégantic, Que.
The Justice for USW Rail Workers Fund has been set up by the Syndicat
des Métallos/United Steelworkers (USW) to support workers Tom Harding
and Richard Labrie, who were charged May 12.
A website has been set up to allow online donations, at www.justice4USWrailworkers.org, or www.justicemetallosdurail.org. All funds raised will be used for defence costs for the affected
"We are launching this fund in solidarity with these workers to ensure
they have access to a full and complete defence," said Daniel Roy, the
Steelworkers' Quebec Director.
"This type of trial can be very expensive and destroy lives. We are
appealing to people's generosity to help ensure that these workers are
not made scapegoats while those who are truly responsible for this
tragedy come out of it without a scratch," said Roy.
"The charges against these workers and the proceedings that are to come
are simply a smokescreen to divert attention from the real causes of
this tragedy: deregulation brought in by the federal Conservative
government, and the shoddy management of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic
"In the spring of 2012, when Denis Lebel was Minister of Transport, his
Department granted MMA an extremely rare authorization to run trains
operated by only one worker. Curiously, it was at this time that the
company decided to start carrying oil. What investigations were done at
the time? How was train safety ensured? Why was this authorization
granted when MMA had accumulated a number of infractions and its
maintenance left much to be desired? Charging a pair of ordinary
workers won't make these questions magically disappear," Roy added.
Contributions to the legal defence fund can be made by PayPal or credit
card on the website www.justice4USWrailworkers.org, or www.justicemetallosdurail.org.
SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Clairandrée Cauchy, USW/Syndicat des Métallos Communications, 514-774-4001