Tom Harding and Richard Labrie Did Not Cause The Lac-Mégantic Tragedy

Any conviction of rail workers at the end of the long danger chain is an obstacle to safety or accountability

That can only come from a full public inquiry that holds policy makers responsible.

Here’s a review of some of the critically important factors that will never be addressed by scapegoating rail workers

The Montreal Maine and Atlantic (MMA) rail management and their US based parent company Rail World Inc put communities and employees at risk across the region, and not just in the specific instance of the Lac-Mégantic wreck. These increased risks almost all still exist, without local benefits or safeguards. None of the volatile crude oil shipped contributes to the regional economy but all the risks are local.

MMA made the deliberate decision to run unit trains of the most explosive oil:

  • With a single crew member who could ONLY move the train forward. Reverse moves and splitting for any safety eventuality was prohibited by this decision.
  • In known inadequate tank cars that were mislabeled as to content.
  • too long to fit in the available derail protected siding, which are designed for the purpose of holding such trains and use of which would have guaranteed that the wreck couldn’t have happened.
  • with completely inadequate liability insurance for any risks they imposed on communities.
  • without any plan for fire and other consequences that might occur with it’s dangerous cargo.
  • without backup qualified staff to respond to eventualities such as the locomotive fire. They refused to send the only and obvious qualified person available (Harding) to check the train in order to save money. Ruthless cutting of the workforce made qualified backup unavailable.

MMA made the deliberate decision to run the locomotive that caught fire in the lead despite:

  • known defective repair that ultimately led to the fire
  • known defective performance that also increased local environmental damage
  • known defective rollaway protection in the wiring of the battery
  • requests for the simple reordering of the consist that would have absolutely prevented the wreck

MMA made the decision to purposely overload the safety weight limits on individual inadequate tank cars for the sole purpose of profit with no concern for consequences of their action. There was no meaningful oversight of this crucial aspect of safety by Transport Canada or anyone else.

MMA set a specific standard for handbrakes that had already been made obsolete by their own decision to increase train length and weight. No corrections were made. That decision was made without any responsibility for assuring securement.

MMA threatened employees with discipline for using the available automatic air brake system in securing these most dangerous trains on grades. This alone would almost certainly have prevented an unforeseeable runaway and is standard in the industry. The most dangerous cargo was purposely left without every available securement, by policy.

MMA had a ZERO safety budget and by policy had no training or followup to insure understanding. Testimony showed that employees were left completely on their own in understanding and interpreting the inadequate rules that existed. Even copying of safety documents was unavailable.

The North American rail industry organizations have never called out the practices of the MMA and have even, in Canada, promoted and defended the outrageous MMA practice of not using train air brakes as a part of securing equipment. They also completely endorse the idea of single employee train operations, even though such operations are inherently dangerous and add unnecessary risk before, during and after dangerous events.

Transport Canada, the supposed watchdog agency that should have been able to determine of the public safety was protected, stated they had no authority to determine MMA rule compliance with even their own rules.

What the jury in the Lac-Mégantic trial didn’t hear

Justice Gaétan Dumas rejected motions to acquit 2 accused but scolded Crown for weakness of case

CANADA-TRAIN/

The jury is is deliberating in the trial of three former rail workers charged with criminal negligence causing 47 deaths for their roles in the 2013 fuel train derailment and explosions in Lac-Mégantic, Que. (Reuters)

139  shares

While the jury was out of earshot, the Quebec Superior Court judge presiding over the trial of three men indicted for their roles in the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster acknowledged the Crown’s case against two of the accused was not persuasive.

“I’m aware the evidence is weak,” Justice Gaétan Dumas told the court in the absence of the jury on Dec. 11. “However, it’s not up to me to evaluate it. That’s the jury’s job.”

Dumas made the comments after rejecting a defence motion to acquit two of the men, former Montreal, Maine and Atlantic (MMA) railway traffic controller Richard Labrie, 59, and ex-MMA operations manager Jean Demaître, 53. Along with former locomotive engineer Tom Harding, 56, they are each charged with criminal negligence causing the deaths of 47 people.

Now that the jury in the marathon trial is sequestered and has begun its deliberations, CBC News is free to report on arguments and motions that had been subject to a publication ban.

CRIME Lac Megantic 20170412

Former Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway Ltd. employees Tom Harding, right, Jean Demaître, centre, and Richard Labrie are escorted by police to appear in court in Lac-Mégantic in 2014. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Throughout the three-month trial, the Crown attempted to demonstrate that, as Harding’s supervisors the night of the disaster, Labrie and Demaître hadn’t done their jobs.

“Their failure to take the appropriate measures to prevent the train from moving was a key cause of the derailment,” prosecutor Véronique Beauchamp argued.

After hearing from the Crown’s 31 witnesses over more than two months, however, lawyers for Labrie and Demaître argued the Crown hadn’t met the burden of proof of the case against their clients.

Demaître’s lawyer, Gaétan Bourassa, said there was no rule in effect in July 2013 that required locomotive engineers to inform their supervisors that a train had been properly secured.

As a result, Bourassa told the judge, his client had no reason to wonder if Harding had engaged a sufficient number of handbrakes when he left the 73-car fuel train idling at Nantes, Que., 13 kilometres from downtown Lac-Mégantic.

CRIME Lac Megantic 20180104

Labrie was the rail traffic controller at MMA on the night of the derailment and explosions. His lawyer argued the Crown never proved he was negligent in his duties. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Labrie’s lawyer, Guy Poupart, argued in the case of his client, not a single Crown witness testified that the railway traffic controller was supposed to have been informed by a locomotive engineer “that he was now ready to leave the site where the train was secured.”

Dumas ultimately rejected the defence motion for a directed verdict to acquit the two men.

“It’s not up to the judge to examine the quality of the evidence,” he said, citing legal precedents.

“It’s the jury’s job to determine if Demaître and Labrie … took steps to avoid bodily harm to other people.”

‘Like pulling teeth’

Dumas, who is known for his direct manner and sometimes colourful speech, made no secret of his frustration with legal counsel, especially with the Crown, when the jury was not present.

He said at times, getting answers to key questions from the prosecution was “like pulling teeth.”

‘It’s not up to the jury to play wizard.’ — Justice Gaétan Dumas

“Four Crown prosecutors have worked full time on this case for three years,” he said at one point. “That’s the equivalent of 12 lawyer-years. I can tell you had I had 12 years on one file, I would have been able to respond to questions about it.”

Dumas cited the example of the fire in the smokestack of the lead locomotive, put out by local firefighters called to the train, which had been left idling in Nantes two hours before the derailment.

No Crown witness could explain what caused the fire.

“It’s not up to the jury to play wizard,” Dumas said.

Superior Court Justice Gaétan Dumas

‘I’m aware the evidence is weak,’ Superior Court Justice Gaétan Dumas told the court in the absence of the jury on Dec. 11. ‘However, it’s not up to me to evaluate it. That’s the jury’s job.’ (Radio-Canada)

The Crown had also reproached Demaître for not doing anything when he learned there was a mechanical problem with the lead locomotive a few hours before Harding drove the convoy to Nantes on July 5, 2013.

“If you’re trying to suggest [to the jury] that changing the locomotive would have prevented the accident … that’s not what caused the accident,” Dumas chided the prosecution.

He continued, sarcastically, “Mr. Demaître’s mother isn’t charged! If she hadn’t brought him into the world, this wouldn’t have happened.”

TSB report ruled inadmissible

The trial of the ex-MMA employees began more than two years after the federal Transportation Safety Board issued its report on the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, concluding, “no one individual, a single action or a single factor” caused the derailment.

The TSB report left no doubt about problems with the MMA railway company, however.

“The TSB found MMA was a company with a weak safety culture that did not have a functioning safety management system to manage risks,” the agency said.

The TSB report identified 18 causes of and factors contributing to the accident, including  gaps in training, employee monitoring and maintenance practices at MMA, a failure by Transport Canada to audit the railway often or thoroughly enough, and the fact that the rail line between Nantes and Lac-Mégantic is the steepest slope in Quebec — and the second-steepest in Canada.

Even before the TSB report was issued, the agency made urgent recommendations to revise the way crude oil and other highly volatile materials are carried by rail.

The jury will not consider any of the TSB’s conclusions in its deliberations, however. Before the trial began, Dumas deemed the report inadmissible.

Judge has faith in jury’s smarts

That played into other arguments from which the jury was excluded.

One of the Crown’s key witnesses was a railway expert, Stephen Callaghan, who had been hired by the Quebec provincial police to help in its investigation.

Before Callaghan testified, the Crown argued his report on the disaster should not be entered as evidence, because it referred to the inadmissible TSB report.

Dumas rejected the Crown’s argument.

“This is like saying the jury isn’t intelligent, so we won’t give them the expertise,” he said.

Safety of one-man crews

MMA had instituted one-man crews on the run through Lac-Mégantic just months before the disaster.

The jury heard expert evidence that the only other railway in Quebec with a one-man crew operation, Quebec, North Shore & Labrador (QNSL) railway, had to respect 69 conditions imposed by Transport Canada before it could adopt them, while MMA had to comply with a single condition — the addition of a rearview mirror to the driver’s side of the lead locomotive.

The jury also heard that MMA employees did not like the single-person crews, and Harding’s lawyer, Thomas Walsh, wanted to analyze their safety.

“One-man crews aren’t safe,” Walsh argued, in the absence of the jury, pointing out the day after the derailment, they were discontinued.

“Somebody caught on. We should be able to present evidence of that.”

Dumas rejected that argument.

“We are not here to try the rules,” he concluded.

MMA Railway Created ‘Perfect Storm,’ Defence For Tom Harding Tells Lac-Mégantic Trial

Superior Court Justice Gaétan Dumas to instruct jury Wednesday as 3-month trial wraps

By Alison Brunette, CBC News Posted: Jan 09, 2018 7:35 PM ETLast Updated: Jan 09, 2018 7:40 PM ET

Defence lawyer Charles Shearson wrapped up two days of  closing arguments at the Sherbrooke courthouse Tuesday.

Defence lawyer Charles Shearson wrapped up two days of closing arguments at the Sherbrooke courthouse Tuesday. (Antoni Nerestant/CBC)

The defence lawyer for former locomotive engineer Tom Harding says the implementation of one-person train crews at Montreal, Maine and Atlantic (MMA) railway, combined with substandard safety practices, were the conditions that led to a perfect storm — culminating in the 2013 Lac-Mégantic tragedy.

Charles Shearson wrapped up two days of closing arguments at the Sherbrooke courthouse Tuesday, rejecting key testimony from Crown witness Randy Stahl, the MMA manager in charge of locomotive maintenance.

Stahl, the only American company official called to testify by the Crown, told the court there was no difference in safety between trains operated by one person or two.

“If it doesn’t make a difference,” asked Shearson, “why did Quebec North Shore & Labrador (QNSL) railway impose 69 conditions when they implemented a one-man crew?”

“Why did they make engineers go through 10 days of training, and why did they make it mandatory for engineers to use [extra safety devices]?” he asked.

Railway accident investigator Stephen Callaghan

The Crown’s expert witness, Stephen Callaghan, testified 69 conditions had to be filled before one-man crews were given the green light to operate at the Quebec North Shore and Labrador (QNSL) railway, where he used to work. (Alison Brunette/CBC)

Shearson pointed out the Crown’s expert witness, Stephen Callaghan, testified QSNL was at the apex of railway safety at the time.

He said QNSL also ensured locomotive engineers working alone were closely monitored, which wasn’t the case at MMA.

Shearson’s client is one of three former MMA employees charged with 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death in connection with the derailment and ensuing explosions which killed 47 people.

Also charged are former operations manager Jean Demaître and ex-rail traffic controller Richard Labrie.

Harding, Labrie and Demaître all waived their right to present a formal defence and did not testify.

MMA 5017

Locomotive 5017 was the defective lead locomotive on the runaway train the night it derailed in downtown Lac-Mégantic. The ensuing explosions killed 47 people. (Richard Marchi/RRPictureArchives.net)

Transport Canada axed one-man crews after disaster

Earlier in the trial, the court heard that before the disaster, Transport Canada changed its rules, so that MMA did not need permission to operate single-person crews — a practice it implemented not long before the disaster.

The only condition imposed on MMA was to add a mirror to the driver side of the locomotive.

“After the tragedy, single-man crews were not allowed anymore,” Shearson reminded the jury.

“If it doesn’t make a difference [in safety] why take it away?”

Shearson asked jurors to recall an audio recording of a phone conversation of Harding calling into the Farnham train station hours before his ill-fated last trip, in which he’d asked the rail traffic controller on duty if he’d be working with a conductor that day.

The answer was no.

“Perhaps if he had been, it could have prevented the accident,” said Shearson.

Harding was ‘on the ball’

Shearson asked jurors to consider Harding’s reputation and recalled the testimony of several of his former MMA colleagues at MMA.

Throughout the trial, many of them painted Harding as patient, helpful, and professional.

Crown witness Yves Gendreau, a former MMA train inspector who’d worked with the accused, told the court he’d been impressed by Harding, describing how the train engineer had opened the window of the locomotive when testing his brakes to hear that the cars were moving properly.

Shearson gave jurors several other examples which he said showed Harding was safety-conscious and on the ball.

“Five minutes after perceiving a problem with the locomotive, he called Farnham to say the locomotive was not 100 per cent,” Shearson told jurors, referring to an audio recording jurors heard earlier in the trial.

Shearson also replayed a conversation Harding had with American rail traffic controller Dave Wiley when he arrived in Nantes with the train on July 5, 2013.

Tom Harding lawyers

Accused locomotive engineer Thomas Harding, left, speaks with defence lawyers Charles Shearson, centre, and Tom Walsh, right. (CBC/Alison Brunette)

In the recording, Harding describes problems he’d had with the locomotive in detail, to which Wiley responds, “We’ll check it out in the morning. That’s all we can do.”

Near the end of his closing statement, Shearson recalled the testimony of ex-MMA employees Michael Horan and Jean-Noël Busque, who both told the court that on the night of the tragedy Harding donned firefighter gear and risked his life to help haul away fuel cars which hadn’t derailed.

“Does that demonstrate someone who has a reckless state of mind, someone who is careless?” Shearson asked.

“We can’t hold people criminally responsible for not being perfect.”

Shearson told jurors Harding’s conduct was reasonable when put in the proper context.

“That context was, there was no specific training for Nantes, and people were not forewarned about the risk,” he said.

Number of handbrakes not a standard

Throughout the trial the Crown has faulted Harding for not applying enough handbrakes to the train left idling overnight in Nantes, and for not conducting a brake efficiency test to check if those handbrakes could hold the train.

Earlier in the trial, the jury heard that Harding had applied seven handbrakes to the train, as well as the locomotive’s independent airbrake.

Shearson argued none of the MMA locomotive engineers or train conductors who testified knew exactly how many handbrakes were required to secure a fuel train in Nantes.

During cross-examination, Shearson had asked those witnesses how many handbrakes they routinely applied to trains.

Several of them answered that a chart did exist indicating how many handbrakes to apply but said they generally used a formula: 10 per cent of the number of train cars plus two, which indicates the minimum number required.

Callaghan, the Crown’s expert witness testified that at Nantes, that minimum number wouldn’t have been enough.

“Why is it normal that no one shared the information that on a train past a certain weight in Nantes, there would have to be more handbrakes applied?” asked Shearson, wrapping up his closing arguments.

Superior Court Justice Gaétan Dumas is expected to instruct the 14-member jury Wednesday, before jurors are sequestered to deliberate.

MMA Locomotive Engineer Didn’t Cause Tragedy, Defense Tells Lac-Mégantic Trial

Thomas Harding’s lawyers say rail company never assessed risks of parking train on Nantes slope

By Alison Brunette, CBC News Posted: Jan 08, 2018 7:21 AM ETLast Updated: Jan 08, 2018 8:15 PM ET

Tom Harding, left, consults with his legal team, Charles Shearson and Tom Walsh, at the Sherbrooke courthouse.

Tom Harding, left, consults with his legal team, Charles Shearson and Tom Walsh, at the Sherbrooke courthouse. (Alison Brunette/CBC)

Tom Harding, the locomotive engineer indicted for his role in the 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster, didn’t cause the tragedy, his defence lawyer said Monday.

Speaking before a packed courtroom, Charles Shearson, one of Harding’s lawyers, asked jurors to recall the testimony of the Crown’s expert witness, Stephen Callaghan.

Callaghan analyzed information gathered from the locomotive’s black box and told the court Harding did not properly test the train’s handbrakes before leaving the fuel-laden train idling on the tracks the night the runaway train rolled into Lac-Mégantic and derailed.

“Harding did not do an efficiency test in perfect compliance,” said Shearson.

“So [Callaghan’s] conclusion was not that Harding caused the accident, but that he did not prevent it,” he said. “But a lot could have prevented the event.”

Harding is one of three former Montreal, Maine and Atlantic (MMA) employees charged with 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death in connection with the derailment and ensuing explosions which killed 47 people. Also charged are former operations manager Jean Demaître and ex-rail traffic controller Richard Labrie.

Harding, Labrie and Demaître all waived their right to present a formal defence and did not testify.

Other pieces of the puzzle

Shearson asked jurors to recall the testimony of several Crown witnesses which lends support to his claim that many factors could have prevented the accident.

“What if MMA had done different route planning,” he asked, “or if derailers had been made available?”

Shearson also reminded jurors that the accident may also have been prevented had the locomotive’s safety system been calibrated in a different way.

Earlier in the trial, the court heard that an automatic penalty brake application never engaged when firefighters shut down the lead locomotive just an hour before the train ran away, after a fire broke out in the smokestack of the locomotive because of a retrofit in the wiring.

“Maybe if there was no fire, there would have been no accident,” said Shearson, adding “there is no evidence to establish the cause of the fire — Isn’t that an important piece of the puzzle?”

Smoke rises from railway cars that were carrying crude oil after derailing in downtown Lac-Megantic, Que., on July 6, 2013. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Harding right to keep locomotive running

The Crown has argued that Harding didn’t apply enough handbrakes to the train. It also said Harding should never have relied on the locomotive’s air brakes to secure the train.

Shearson countered that Monday, pulling out MMA’s general operating instructions, which indicate the lead locomotive should be left running with its independent brake engaged when left unattended.

Shearson said Harding wasn’t in perfect compliance in the way he tested the train’s brakes.  But he said Harding did do an efficiency test.

Recalling Callaghan’s analysis of the black box data, Shearson told jurors that when Harding left that train it had more than two and a half times the force required to hold it.

“It was not going anywhere,” he said.

Shearson told the court that the Crown had said Harding had been made aware firefighters had shut down the locomotive after the fire.

But on Monday, Shearson said that wasn’t true.

“Harding was never told that the 5017 was shut down,” he said, implying there was a miscommunication at some point along the way.

Harding ‘an easy target’

Earlier in his closing arguments Monday, Shearson asked jurors to remember that the investigators who searched the MMA offices after the tragedy testified they were specifically looking for documents pertaining to Harding.

“It put him in an unfair spotlight,” Shearson said. “It made him an easy target to shift responsibility to.”

Shearson plainly told Superior Court Justice Gaétan Dumas and the 14 jurors that Harding isn’t perfect and didn’t secure his train according to regulation.

But he said it’s unfair to judge Harding for not being perfect.

“That’s a high standard — to hold someone to perfection and then not accept responsibility,” said Shearson.

“Although Harding’s conduct was not perfect it was reasonable. When you look at the entirety of the evidence you have the image of a very reliable man.”

Shearson listed a number of other factors that contributed to the derailment, including the degraded condition of the tracks and MMA’s failure to conduct a risk assessment on the consequences of parking a heavy fuel train on a slope at Nantes, 13 kilometres from downtown Lac-Mégantic.

“If there was a risk at Nantes no one, not management, no one at MMA or Transport Canada, foresaw the problem,” said Shearson. “So how can we blame Harding for not foreseeing the risk?”

Safety of one-man crews called into question

Switching between English and French, Shearson highlighted the relatively new practice of one-man crews, in which locomotive engineers were forced to secure their trains alone.

He reminded jurors that Crown witness Steve Jacques, an MMA rail traffic controller, had testified that after the rail disaster, MMA put out a memo instructing locomotive engineers who operated one man-crews to tell the rail traffic controller on duty how many handbrakes they’d applied to their parked train.

Jacques had testified before that instruction came down, rail traffic controllers had refused to follow the directive because it put too much responsibility on them.

“Not only did some persons at the company not want the responsibility,” said Shearson, “they would not accept it.”

Shearson asked jurors if it was reasonable to think that all employees at the company should be on par with implementing safety standards.

Closing statements for Harding continue Tuesday.

The Crown delivered closing arguments in Sherbrooke, Que., last week, as did lawyers representing Labrie and Demaître.

Protests Coast To Coast, And Even Abroad Meet The Final Phase Of The Lac-Mégantic Trial

Richard Labrie

Tom Harding

The most important rail safety trial of our time will soon be in the hands of the jury. They are tasked with the difficult decision of whether or not to hold rail workers accountable for actions of their employers because it’s plain that there will be no other accountability, despite what is now a matter of public record.

The wrong people are on trial. Check out this interview with RCI, Radio Canada International. 

The stakes are high. But fortunately, many people across North America are not fooled by the Crown’s phony veneer of holding people personally accountable for the tragedy. No such real personal accountability will ever be made, since the government made it’s decision to target only the last persons in a danger chain that continues across every railroad to this moment.

On January 4th and 5th, in cities across America, people took their call for real rail safety, No More Lac-Mégantics and opposition to scapegoating workers to Canadian consulates as far away as Sao Paulo, Brazil. In several cases, they had to experience severe weather but came out anyway, knowing how important this case is. Active rail workers, Union members, working class militants, rail and other retirees protested in San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Washington DC and Minneapolis. Solidarity activists, Climate Change fighters, volatile oil opponents and environmental activists turned out their support to add their voices to the protests and delivering notice to the Canadian government that justice and rail safety cannot be served by framing up rail workers for the conditions they are forced, with government complicity, to work under. In some cities, they delivered printed statements and letters to consular officials.

Chicago

Minneapolis

Members of rail unions, Railroad Workers United, the United Electrical workers, Communication Workers of America and others were joined by the Workers Solidarity Action Network, the Backbone Campaign, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and many others stood up to oppose scapegoating and stand with the community of Lac-Mégantic, whose activists have an ongoing fight for the safety of their town more than 4 years after the government appointed scapegoats have had no role.

These stand up people across the country have taken their time, money and energy into the street and to the Canadian consulates because they know that their own concerns, health and safety are at stake in the outcome of the Lac-Mégantic trial.

In the court room in Sherbrooke Quebec, one of the scapegoated rail workers, Tom Harding, was able to see photographs of the protests, letting them know they are not alone in the fight for actual accountability.

Seattle

On Monday, January 8, 2018, attorney Charles Shearson has begun presenting the defense of Tom Harding. That defense will be a summary of the evidence presented by the Crown prosecutors in their attempt to demonize Tom Harding as the criminally negligent cause of the wreck that nearly destroyed Lac-Mégantic and killed 47 outright. It should be noteworthy that the defense has made the determination that the facts supporting acquittal of Harding are already in evidence having been made by the Crown itself.

Sao Paulo, Brazil

The case will go to the jury this week. A conviction of one or both of the scapegoated rail workers is the signal the rail industry across the continent has been waiting for…a signal that they are free to conduct any and all of the dangerous practices and policies documented in the wreck of Lac-Mégantic, without any fear of liability. Some, like the actual policy makers and owners of the Montreal Maine and Atlantic (MMA), who are still free and running railroads around the world will breathe even easier as they take their profits; knowing that what they did will never have consequences for them.

Chicago

People are watching this trial all over the world. The stakes couldn’t be higher. The activists who braved the cold last week to deliver the message that we are all watching will be talking in the coming weeks, along with their Canadian counterparts, about the next necessary steps that we must take if we are truly going to see No More Lac-Mégantics!

Washington DC

 

Message from Italian Rail Workers Supporting Harding and Labrie

CubFerrovie CubRail

CUB RAIL, An Italian Rail Workers Organization Has Been A Long Time Supporter Of The Lac-Mégantic Rail Workers.

 

Tutta la nostra solidarietà e tutto il nostro appoggio ai ferrovieri processati per il disastro di Lac Mégantic.
Vogliamo Tom libero!

 

All our solidarity and all our support to the railway workers tried for the disaster of Lac Mégantic.
We want Tom free!

Support for Harding and Labrie is increasingly international

A Brazilian Workers Union Takes Up The Cause of Supporting the Scapegoated Lac-Mégantic Rail Workers

CSP-Conlutas  Quinta, 04 de janeiro de 2018

CSP-Conlutas – Central Sindical e Popular

Apoio Apoio internacional

CSP-Conlutas expressa apoio a ferroviários do Canadá acusados de negligência em acidente

03/01/2018

Tom Harding, à esquerda, em julgamento ocorrido em 2017 – Foto TheStar.com

 

Um dia Internacional de Luta acontece nesta quinta-feira (4) em defesa dos ferroviários do Canadá, que são acusados como responsáveis por um acidente ocorrido em julho de 2013.

 

Tom Harding, engenheiro e condutor do trem, Jean Demaitre, gerente de operações e Richard Labrie, controlador de tráfico, foram acusados de negligência por este acidente e enfrentam julgamento que tem início nesta quarta-feira (3) e segue até sexta-feira, no Tribunal Superior de Quebec, em Sherbrooke.

 

Mobilização – A denúncia dos sindicatos locais alerta para os riscos que a precarização dos serviços trazem aos usuários e trabalhadores do setor, e afirmam que a responsabilidade da explosão é da empresa, a Montreal, Maine and Atlantic (MMA), e do governo, que flexibilizou a regulamentação do setor.

 

Entenda – Em 2013, um trem desgovernado que transportava petróleo bruto vindo dos Estados Unidos descarrilou na cidade canadense de Lac-Mégantic, explodindo e matando 47 pessoas, além de destruir parte do centro da cidade.

 

O trem continha 72 carros com mais de 2 milhões de galões de petróleo cru, e de acordo com a norma da empresa só apresentava um condutor e engenheiro responsável, Harding.

 

Apoio – Aqui no Brasil, a CSP-Conlutas estará amanhã (4), às 15h, em frente ao consulado do Canadá, em São Paulo, para entregar moção de apoio aos trabalhadores.

 

 

*com informações da Fenametro

 

KPFA WorkWeek Radio covers the Campaign

From the Open-Publishing Newswire

Related Categories: International | North Bay / Marin | U.S. | Labor & Workers

Campaign For Framed Railroad Workers Facing Trial For Lac-Mégantic Wreck
by KPFA WorkWeek Radio
Wednesday Dec 27th, 2017 10:51 AM
Three railroad workers are on trial in Lac-Mégantic, Canada for causing a massive train wreck that killed 47 people. The real reasons are the destruction of health and safety standards by the companies in the drive for greater profits. They are now targeting the railroad workers as the cause of the catastrophic dangers that they have created by deregulation and union busting.
canadian_framed_up_railway_workers.jpeg

Pacifica KPFA WorkWeek Radio looks at a railroad workers defense campaign taking place in Quebec , Canada. In 2014 a major train wreck took place in Lac-Mégantic when a run away train with loaded with highly dangerous fuel smashed into the Lac-Mégantic city center killing 47 people. The company Montreal, Maine and Atlantic (MMA) and the Canadian government blamed three workers for this catastrophic wreck.

USW Locomotive engineer Tom Harding is one of three former Montreal, Maine and Atlantic (MMA) railroad employees along with operations manager Jean Demaître and railway traffic controller Richard Labrie who were each charged with 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death in connection with the deadly derailment and explosions at Lac-Mégantic.

With growing rail and transit disasters in Washinton, New York City and throughout the country are the workers really to blame? We look at the deregulation and the attack on rail workers and health and safety conditions by railroad bosses. On January 4th there will be protests at Canadian consulates in the US and around the world to demand freedom for these railroad workers.

WorkWeek is joined with Railroad Workers United RWU and Workers Solidarity Action Network WSAN member Mark Burrows who is a retired SMART 1433 Canadian Pacific railroader and is helping to organize the defense campaign. We also interview Fritz Edler who is a veteran Locomotive engineer, and chair of the Lac-Mégantic rail workers defense committee and a special rep for Railroad Workers United RWU.

For more information and media:
http://hardingdefense.org/
http://railroadworkersunited.org/lac-megantic/
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/505b96a8c4aa40a37a143c49/t/5814d3da37c581849ea8c40e/1477759962784/If+you+Care+About+Rail+Safety+Yoiu+Must+Support+Tom+Harding.pdf
http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/montreal/mma-lac-megantic-trial-jonathan-couture-1.4423964
http://www.themilitant.com/2015/7905/790553.html
http://www.cbc.ca/…/lac-megantic-criminal-trial-begins-sher…
http://www.newswire.ca/…/steelworkers-local-gives-70000-to-…
https://www.ble-t.org/pr/news/headline.asp?id=39797
http://hardingdefense.org
http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/steelworkers-local-gives-70000-to-railway-workers-defence-fund-515129641.html
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/lac-megantic-criminal-trial-begins-sherbrooke-1.4315201
http://jordanbarab.com/confinedspace/2017/10/24/lac-megantic-trial/
Production of
KPFA WorkWeek Radio
workweek [at] kpfa.org
https://soundcloud.com/workweek-radio

1/4/18 International Day Of Action To Defend Framed Lac-Mégantic Railway Workers-Stop One Person Crews And Destruction Of Health & Safety Standards in Transportation System

1/4/18 Thursday Jan 4th, 2018
Press Conference and Rally in San Francisco on Thursday Jan 4, 2017 at 12:00 noon at the

San Francisco Canadian Consulate 580 California St. San Francisco, California

Additional information about actions in the US and internationally will be forthcoming.

On Thursday January 4, 2018 there will be an international day of action to defend three USW Canadian railway workers. Locomotive engineer Tom Harding is one of three former Montreal, Maine and Atlantic (MMA) railroad employees along with operations manager Jean Demaître and railway traffic controller Richard Labrie who were each charged with 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death in connection with the deadly derailment and explosions at Lac-Mégantic that killed 47 people. As a direct results of the elimination of crews leading to a one person crew, this disaster was man made by the corporations which are eliminating railway safety protections and who control the politicians. The Canadian government in fact like the US government is controlled by these same rail bosses who are only interested in more profits at the cost of lives, communities and the environment.

Increasing rail wrecks and explosions throughout North American are endangering workers, members of the community and creating havoc. These so called “accidents” around the world are a direct result of deregulation, privatization and the attack on transportation workers and their unions.

Not surprisingly, 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 decisions.

The scheme to blame the workers for these disasters is a cynical ploy to shift the real responsibility for the growing number of transportation catastrophes taking place in North America and in country after country.

We call for the dropping of charges and for the real criminals who are the executives of MMA and the government officials to be prosecuted for endangering the community and the workers.

Put the real criminals on trial!

In San Francisco there will be a press conference and protest at the Canadian Consulate at 12:00 noon. The consulate is located at 580 California St. San Francisco.

This international day of action has been endorsed by
Workers Solidarity Action Network
https://www.facebook.com/workerssolidarityactionnetwork/
http://www.workerssolidarityactionnetwork.org
Railroad Workers United
http://railroadworkersunited.org
United Public Workers For Action
http://www.upwa.info

Additional media:
http://railroadworkersunited.org/lac-megantic/
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/505b96a8c4aa40a37a143c49/t/5814d3da37c581849ea8c40e/1477759962784/If+you+Care+About+Rail+Safety+Yoiu+Must+Support+Tom+Harding.pdf
http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/montreal/mma-lac-megantic-trial-jonathan-couture-1.4423964
http://www.themilitant.com/2015/7905/790553.html
http://www.cbc.ca/…/lac-megantic-criminal-trial-begins-sher…
http://www.newswire.ca/…/steelworkers-local-gives-70000-to-…
https://www.ble-t.org/pr/news/headline.asp?id=39797
http://hardingdefense.org
http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/steelworkers-local-gives-70000-to-railway-workers-defence-fund-515129641.html
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/lac-megantic-criminal-trial-begins-sherbrooke-1.4315201
http://jordanbarab.com/confinedspace/2017/10/24/lac-megantic-trial/

§Man Made Explosion At Lac-Mégantic

by KPFA WorkWeek Radio Wednesday Dec 27th, 2017 10:51 AM
canada_rail_explosion.jpeg

The deregulation of railroads directly led to the catastrophic explosion at Lac-Mégantic. Now the company and the Canadian government are blaming the workers in a criminal frame-up

§Drop The Charges Against Canadian Railway Workers

by KPFA WorkWeek Radio Wednesday Dec 27th, 2017 10:51 AM
canada_unifor_drop_the_charges.jpeg

National Canadian union Unifor is calling for the dropping of the charges against the Lac-Mégantic railway workers on trial.

§Railroad Dangers Grow In Canada and US

by KPFA WorkWeek Radio Wednesday Dec 27th, 2017 10:51 AM
rail_dangers_canada.jpeg

The attack on health and safety protection for greater profits is threatening the workers and communities.

§Train Wrecks Becoming Commonplace Under Capitalist Rule

by KPFA WorkWeek Radio Wednesday Dec 27th, 2017 10:51 AM
canada_lac-megantic_7_6_13_-train_wreck_.jpg

The attack on health and safety and the drive for profits is increasing the number of train wrecks not only in Canada but in the US. Workers and communities are being destroyed by these companies who are backed up by the government agencies which are supposed to protect the public

§Drop The Charges

by KPFA WorkWeek Radio Wednesday Dec 27th, 2017 10:51 AM
drop_the_charges.png

The Railroad Workers United RWU is leading the campaign to defend the framed Lac-Mégantic railroad workers.

§USW Locomotive Engineer Tom Harding Is Fighting Back

by KPFA WorkWeek Radio Wednesday Dec 27th, 2017 10:51 AM
usw_mma_railrod_worker_thomas_hardingjonathan-couture.jpg

USW locomotive engineer Tom Harding and the other railroad workers are fighting back against the company government frame-up to hide the real criminals.

National Press Release

Press Release

Drop The Charges! Safe Rails Now! No More Lac-Mégantics!

Rallies Across The Nation Supporting The Scapegoated Lac-Mégantic Rail Workers

Washington DC, January 2, 2018:

Protest events will take place across North America and around the world this week calling for real rail safety and accountability regarding rail disasters like the 2013 Lac-Mégantic oil train wreck. Railroad workers, rail safety and environmental activists will be calling upon the Canadian government to drop the charges against framed up rail workers as the prosecution case against them unravels. Canadian rail workers Tom Harding and Richard Labrie are currently on trial for the deaths in that disaster. The criminal trial has highlighted the connection between dangerous railroad policies and the need to hold the right people accountable for the danger created.

On January 4th and 5th, 2018, rail safety activists will be calling on the Canadian government to stop it’s diversionary prosecution of rail workers who have no control over the majority of the causes identified by government reports and independent investigations. In many cases, the causes identified are also at issue in other railroad wrecks in the last years, yet no policy makers are held accountable.

The trial testimony has been clear. The actions of rail workers Harding and Labrie did not cause the Lac-Mégantic tragedy. But risky decisions and policies by railroad managers and their government regulatory enablers must be addressed and those responsible held accountable if we are to have rail safety across North America.

Safe Trains Now!

No More Lac-Mégantics!

Harding and Labrie Did Not Cause The Wreck, Drop the Charges!

San Francisco Rally-Press Conference

Thursday January 4, 2018 12:00 PM

San Francisco Canadian Consulate

580 California St. San Francisco, CA

Chicago Rally In Support of the Scapegoated Lac-Mégantic Rail Workers

Thursday January 4, 2018 1:00 PM

Chicago Canadian Consulate

180 N. Stetson St.

Chicago, Il

Seattle Rally In Support of the Scapegoated Lac-Mégantic Rail Workers

Thursday January 4, 2018 Noon

1501 4th Ave

Seattle WA

Washington DC Rally In Support of the Scapegoated Lac-Mégantic Rail Workers

Thursday January 4, 2018 12:30 PM to 1 PM

Canadian Embassy

501 Pennsylvania Ave NW

Washington DC

Minneapolis Rally In Support of the Scapegoated Lac-Mégantic Rail Workers

Friday January 5, 2018 2:30 PM

Minneapolis Canadian Consulate

701 S. 4th Ave.

Minneapolis MN

Actions in other cities are in the process of being organized.

More information: www.hardingdefense.org