TORONTO/ST. JOHN'S, Oct. 30 /CNW/ - United Steelworkers' (USW)
Ontario/Atlantic Director Wayne Fraser said Tuesday that a
Newfoundland-Labrador Supreme Court decision is a breakthrough for workers
suffering from work-related disease.
The decision came after the Iron Ore Company of Canada argued that
Steelworker Frank Hammond's cancer was not related to his 45 years as a fuel
truck driver at IOC's Labrador West mine. The chief justice of the
Newfoundland Supreme Court's trials division ruled that IOC's arguments did
not hold up.
"The USW will use this decision as a benchmark to reach out to other
workers across Canada," said Fraser. "We urge IOC and its parent company Rio
Tinto to acknowledge that this worker's industrial disease is work-related."
Hammond spent much of his life's savings on travel for cancer treatments.
The cancer is now in remission but, should it return, Monday's decision means
he won't have to pay for future travel related to his treatment.
"Victims of industrial disease should only be concerned about getting
treatment and focusing on their health instead of having to fight through the
courts against the company that was responsible for their health and safety in
the first place," said George Kean, president of USW Local 5795.
"Our union is in the business of protecting our members against the
actions of companies like IOC that are unconcerned about the suffering of
long-term loyal employees. Justice delayed is definitely justice denied."
IOC has 30 days to appeal this decision.
"The United Steelworkers has been fighting this fight for over 60 years,"
said Fraser. "You have to wonder about people who say unions aren't necessary
in the 21st century. If we don't fight for workers' rights, who will?"
The USW is Canada's most diverse union, representing more than 280,000
men and women working in every sector of Canada's economy.
For further information:
For further information: Wayne Fraser, (416) 243-8792, (416) 577-4045;
George Keans, (709) 944-0679