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June 22, 2022
The Honourable Monte McNaughton, MPP
Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development
14th Floor, 400 University Ave.
Toronto, ON M7A 1T7
RE: Meeting Requested – Three Fatalities at National Steel Car in Hamilton
I received the June 17 correspondence from Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Deputy Minister Greg Meredith, regarding our request to meet with you about the deplorable health and safety situation at National Steel Car in Hamilton, resulting in three deaths in 21 months. This equates to one death every seven months and is the worst health and safety record of any workplace in Ontario.
While our union is interested to know about the increased fines for officers and directors of corporations who fail to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the new inspectors recently hired, this does not address our request to meet with the Minister about the ongoing health and safety issues at National Steel Car. Further, increased fines are an inadequate deterrent, especially for companies with deep pockets and little regard for workplace health and safety.
The facts have demonstrated that the 75 visits and 78 orders and requirements issued to National Steel Car, from June 3, 2021 to June 3, 2022, outlined in the recent correspondence from your office have simply not been effective. During this period, two employees died on the job in circumstances which were eerily similar. The Ministry of Labour’s interventions to date have fallen short of keeping workers safe, with tragic consequences. As the Minister of Labour, I ask you to now intervene to ensure this workplace carnage ends.
Workers at National Steel Car deserve to be safe on the job – currently they are not. Instead, they are fearful, not knowing which one of them may meet a similar circumstance to Fraser Cowan, 51, who died on September 2, 2020; Collin Grayley, 35, who died on April 23, 2021 and Quoc Le, 51, who died on June 6, 2022.
I am once again asking you to meet so that together, we can address the significant and unrelenting health and safety catastrophe at National Steel Car in Hamilton. Our union is committed to improving workplace safety at National Steel Car and I ask now that as Minister, you demonstrate the same level of commitment to worker safety.
Please note that my office will continue to contact your office until which point a meeting takes place and you take immediate action to address the aforementioned crisis.
District 6 Director (Ontario and Atlantic)
United Steelworkers union (USW)
We need a leader who understands labour issues and the needs of workers – one who is proud to say the words ‘labour’ and ‘unions.’ We need a leader who will bring more working-class voters back to the NDP. I am confident Marit will provide strong leadership to our party during a time when Ontario needs it the most.
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