December 3rd, 2013
Halifax shipyard workers protest alleged workplace bullying following suicide
NOV. 29 UPDDATE: Flash – Shipyard president Kevin McCoy claims to have “investigated” the bullying allegation below and found “no evidence of it.” No duh! And the protesters lost a day’s pay.
By Patrick Odell, Global News, Nov. 28, 2013
Hundred of workers at Halifax’s Irving Shipyard walked off the job Thursday, angry about the way management is treating them and what they call an oppressive work environment. Ross Lord reports.
HALIFAX, NS – Workers at the Irving-owned Halifax Shipyard walked off the job Thursday morning in protest after they say a co-worker killed himself after being suspended by management.
Rick Rose of Unifor says a worker took his own life on Wednesday after he was suspended for 30 days.
Rose says the death came after a series of disciplinary actions involving various employees.
He says other employees are upset over what they say is an increase in disciplinary actions by management.
In an email statement, Irving said it was “devastated” to find out one of its workers, whom it identified as Peter MacKenzie, had died.
Police were on scene to keep things under control and so traffic doesn’t get back up. Protesters were crossing Barrington Street earlier in the morning, which caused lengthy delays for downtown commuters.
Rose says he is meeting with management today about the death and the workers’ grievances.
The intriguing angle to this bullying-suicide-protest story is that troubles began when Irving brought in an American president and he, in turn, imported an American management team. Since then, there have been 14 disciplinary dismissals. One triggering a suicide. What did they do differently? Why did the new team not acclimate to the culture of the shipyard? Were the Americans sent in to “clean up” the shipyard with respect to workers? Was previous Canadian management considered to cooperative with the union? Were the Americans sent in to bust the union?
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