29 SEPTEMBER 2008
FLIN FLON, MB – Unions representing workers at the Hudson Bay Minerals mining and smelting complex in Flin Flon are meeting Monday in anticipation of the resumption and final hearings of the Inquiry into the 2000 death of Steve Ewing on Tuesday Sept. 30 at the Flin Flon courthouse.
The United Steelworkers (USW), International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) have prepared a comprehensive brief supporting their submissions. They continue to cooperate in representing the men who were injured as well as all the others who work for the company.
Steve Ewing was killed and 13 other workers were injured on August 5, 2000, when an explosion ripped through the Hudson Bay smelter during a shutdown and rebuild of the smelter. The company pleaded guilty to charges under the Manitoba Workplace Health and Safety Act on Nov. 27, 2001.
The inquest started on Jan. 13, 2004, but was delayed four years by company court appeals. Final submissions by all of the parties represented at the inquest are being presented Sept. 30 – Oct. 2.
“Having now heard all the evidence – from workers and management – the matter is now in the judge’s hands.” says USW Representative Andrew King. “The judge must now move forward to identify what went wrong and what can be done to prevent it happening again.”
“This inquest has been plagued with delays,” said IAM Canadian General Vice-President Dave Ritchie. “The Ewing family and the families of all the other victims deserve closure on this terrible event. And workers who are still at work in the smelter need to know that their workplace will not kill or maim them.”
An inquest is a public investigation into deaths that result from a variety of causes, including man-made disasters. Inquests provide family and friends of the deceased, along with those who may have been injured by the event that led to the death under investigation, with a needed explanation of what happened. Recommendations from the inquests lead to changes that prevent similar deaths and injuries in the future.
Andrew King 416-544-5996/416-407-5271
Bill Trbovich – IAM Director of Communications 416-386-1789, ext.6331/ 416-735-9765
Brian Murdoch – IBEW Communications 204-781-8078