CAW Donates $25,000 to Red Cross in Support of Lac-Mégantic Victims

July 12, 2013, 4:00 PM EST

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The Canadian Auto Workers union has donated $25,000 to the Canadian Red Cross to help support efforts in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. The explosion which has left 50 dead or unaccounted for has also deeply touched union leaders and members. Many CAW local unions in Quebec and across the country have also made donations. 

"We are saddened by this terrible and wholly preventable loss of life," said CAW President Ken Lewenza. "We are calling on Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway to take full responsibility for this awful accident, the company must not be allowed to turn its back on the community of Lac-Mégantic."

The incident highlights the need to strengthen workplace safety standards in the rail sector, including mandating adequate staffing levels, said Lewenza. 

"It's our duty as a union trying to make a difference for all those families who in the space of a few hours saw their lives ripped apart, with the loss of life, damage to their homes and community," said CAW Quebec Director Sylvain Martin.

The CAW represents 9,000 railway workers.  The CAW and Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union will be joining together to create a new Canadian union - Unifor, with the goal of ensuring safer workplaces, secure employment and wages and benefits that provide a decent standard of living.

Unifor will hold its founding convention over Labour Day weekend, August 30 - September 1, downtown Toronto.

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