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Vol. 78/No. 45      December 15, 2014

Bosses’ profit drive kills 4
workers in 8 days in Alberta
(front page)
CALGARY, Alberta — Four construction workers were killed on the job in the space of eight days in the province, drawing attention to the deadly consequences of the bosses’ profit drive here.

On Nov. 18, James Ladino, 40, of Edmonton was struck in the head by a machine he was using to install a sewer line. He died the next day.

On Nov. 20 an unidentified 60-year-old man was crushed to death when a wall collapsed as he was installing a loading door here. He was working for employment agency Blue Collar Temps at Norcal Construction.

On Nov. 21 in St. Albert, near Edmonton, a worker died after falling from a ladder.

On Nov. 25 another worker was killed at Carseland near Calgary, when he was crushed between concrete blocks and a tractor while dismantling a bridge

“Most of these accidents are preventable,” said Jaimie Loewen, a construction worker who lives in the neighborhood where Ladino was killed.

Last July, Chris Lawrence, 15, died in a gravel pit near Drumheller, an hour and a half from Calgary. He was working for Arjon Construction when his clothes got caught and he was pulled under equipment. Under Alberta law it was legal for Lawrence to be employed in construction.

Alberta “is the best place in Canada for employers to get away with unsafe work, and remains one of the most dangerous places in Canada to be a worker,” said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour at an April 28 Day of Mourning ceremony in Edmonton for killed and injured workers.

Alberta has the lowest rate of unionization in Canada at 23.5 percent in 2012. The Canadian average was 31.5 percent. The labor movement here was weakened during an offensive against the construction unions in the 1980s. Taking advantage of a major downturn in the economy, employers locked out all construction trades from their jobs on June 16, 1984, and got the help of the Alberta government to tear up union contracts. The recent construction deaths show how workers in the province continue to pay with their lives.
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