I Heart Asbestos

Quoted from http://www.mcgilldaily.com/2012/04/i-heart-asbestos/

I Heart Asbestos

Why does the town of Asbestos, Quebec want to reopen a mine that’s been giving its residents cancer for a hundred years?

Rebecca Katzman

Laurent Bastien Corbeil
Published on April 2, 2012

In 1949, the town of Asbestos, Quebec was rocked by one of the fiercest labour disputes in the province’s history. Nearly 2000 workers at the Jeffrey Mine – which produced chrysotile, the most common form of asbestos – went on strike to demand higher wages and better working conditions from the Johns Manville Corporation. At the time, “asbestos dust was as omnipresent in the air as the air itself” as the journalists John Grey and Stephanie Nolen put it in the Globe and Mail.    

From the beginning of the strike, the notoriously corrupt government of Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis, the hierarchy of the Catholic church, and the asbestos industry colluded to break the picketing trade union. Violence was widespread – miners blew up a company-owned railroad track with dynamite, and dozens of strikers were severely beaten by police. After four months of bitter conflict, the union caved.

Although the workers lost their fight, they became folk heroes in the process….

[Article continues at original source]

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