MONTREAL, July 16, 2014 /CNW/ - A $70,000 contribution from a United
Steelworkers (USW) union local has boosted a legal defence fund for
workers charged in the Lac-Mégantic rail tragedy.
The Justice for USW Rail Workers Fund has raised nearly $120,000 to
date, following the $70,000 contribution from USW Local 1976. The local
represents 6,000 members across Canada, including 1,000 railway
workers. Contributions to the defence fund also have come from other
union locals, individual union members, other organizations and the
On May 12 this year, three employees of the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic
Railway (MMA) were charged with criminal negligence in connection with
the 2013 Lac-Mégantic train explosion.
Following their arrest, the employees, including USW Local 1976 members
Thomas Harding and Richard Labrie, were publicly paraded in handcuffs
before the Lac-Mégantic community.
No charges were brought against MMA owner Ed Burkhardt or against the
federal Conservative government that allowed the use of single-worker
train crews without an inquiry into the implications of its decision.
"Our colleagues should not be held criminally responsible for negligent
management practices of a company like MMA or the government's lax
regulation that so easily allowed an engineer working alone to operate
a train carrying explosive materials," said USW Local 1976 President Steven Hadden.
"We ask everyone who feels solidarity with the workers who have been
arrested to contribute to the defence fund," said Richard Boudreault,
the Steelworkers' Area Coordinator in Montreal. "This type of criminal
prosecution can lead to broken lives. Let's stand in solidarity with
these ordinary workers."
Donations to the defence fund can be made online via PayPal, at www.justice4USWRailworkers.org. Donations also can be made by cheque, payable to the United
Steelworkers, with the notation "Justice for USW rail workers." Cheques
can be sent to 565 Crémazie Boulevard East, Suite 5100, Montreal, QC
SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Clairandrée Cauchy, USW Communications, 514-774-4001, firstname.lastname@example.org