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April 28 - Day of Mourning 
Source: TCRC National Office
Published: April 28th 2007
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Dear Sisters and Brothers,

April 28, 2007 will mark the 23rd anniversary of the National Day of Mourning in commemorating those killed or hurt by workplace injuries or disease.

I think that we have all been touched in one way or another by the tragedies that have occurred in the work place, the lives that are lost and thousands that are injured. There is terrible toll on families and friends and for them, life will never be the same.

Most recently, Union Brother Lonnie Plasko lost his life while attempting to stop his train on one of the steepest grades in North America in order to prevent an even bigger accident. Our hearts go out Brother Lonnie's family and friends and all those who have been touched by tragedy in the workplace. It is a sad reminder that in a split second, our lives can be changed forever

Please join with us on April 28, 2007 in remembering those killed or hurt by workplace injuries or disease and to resolve to make every workplace a safer place for everyone.

Sincerely and In Solidarity,

D.J. Shewchuk

****Related Story****


Mishaps spark fears for rail workers, public
Union says bigger, longer trains are to blame for rash of derailments

Canadian Press

VANCOUVER -- Rail Safety Week this week saw Canada's two main railways clean up after derailments including a crash that claimed the life of an engineer who stayed with his runaway train.

That accident and others have led to a call to beef up the country's Railway Safety Act to protect rail workers, the public and communities that are most vulnerable to rail accidents.

CP Rail engineer Lonnie Plasko has been called a hero for trying to control a speeding train barrelling into the B.C. Interior community of Trail on Monday. Two of his co-workers jumped to safety. A day later, Mr. Plasko's body was dug out from the train's wreckage.

On the same day, CN Rail was cleaning up a derailment in central Alberta near the community of Alix. Eight cars left the track and three locomotives tipped onto their sides, forcing the crew members, all of them slightly injured, to climb out a window.

The most recent completed Transportation Safety Board statistics show a 10 per cent increase in total rail accidents in Canada from 2004 to 2005.

And compared to 2000-2004, the number of accidents went up by 18 per cent in 2005.

Dan Shewchuck, president of Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, believes that some of the accidents can be blamed on longer, heavier trains.

Mr. Shewchuck, who represents CN Rail engineers and engineers, conductors and yardmen for CP Rail, said the workers believe the ponderous trains have set off derailments in the past.

"[There are] serious concerns from our members in regards to how they're able to handle that train at high speeds . . . It makes the job a lot more difficult."

He said in the past few years trains have grown in length from 1,800 metres to about 5,100 metres -- or about five kilometres -- and move up to 100 kilometres an hour.

"We seem to be having the situations develop over and over again. And something has to be done."

Liberal MP Don Bell agrees.

He's the vice-chairman of the transport committee that has been holding hearings on the safety of the rail industry in Canada.

"We need to have accountability, they need to have the incentive . . . of fairly severe penalties because you're dealing with people's lives, you're dealing with workers' lives, you're dealing with potentially the safety of the public," Mr. Bell said in a telephone interview from Ottawa.

He believes the Railway Safety Act needs more teeth to force rail companies to comply, noting that the Aeronautics Act gives safety regulators a lot more power to act.

In February, the federal government announced its first review into the Railway Safety Act since 1994 and the report is expected this year.

****Related Story****

Via resumes service after CN derailment

Last Updated: Sunday, April 29, 2007 | 9:15 AM ET
CBC News
Passenger train service has resumed on Via Rail's busy Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor, a day after it was halted by a train derailment near Cobourg, Ont.

Via was able to get trains moving on the route Sunday morning, starting with one departing Ottawa at 8:35 a.m. ET for Toronto.

The track in both directions was closed after 23 cars of a 130-car CN freight train derailed late Saturday morning.

Via offered affected ticket-holders bus trips or refunds.

Canadian National said there were no injuries and no hazardous materials was involved in the derailment, which the Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

A parallel Canadian Pacific Railway track was forced to shut down briefly because of the incident.

The interruption in Via Rail service comes just a week after a protest by an aboriginal group closed the same line, blocking trains for more than a day.


TCRC Division 76 Winnipeg - 2014