Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Workers have beef over beef

By BROOKES MERRITT, Edmonton Sun, Canada
They've got a beef.

Unionized carpenters at the Albion oilsands site near Fort McMurray are demanding a health inspection following allegations that steaks were delivered to their camp in the back of a filthy pickup truck, unrefrigerated and covered in dirt.

The union called for a boycott yesterday after a cook claimed that 120 steaks were driven to the site on uncovered baking sheets in the open bed of a pickup truck.

'COVERED IN SAND AND DIRT'

"It was disgusting. They were covered in sand and dirt and had been exposed to the dirty air up here," said Michel Marchand, a 19-year-old kitchen staffer hired only one week ago by ESS On-Site Camp Services, which runs the kitchen. He said he unloaded the bare steaks from the back of a pickup truck normally used to haul garbage.

Marchand said the steaks would have been served yesterday if he hadn't brought the issue to the construction site's top boss, Harry Ophof of ATCO. ATCO is overseeing the construction of the Jackpine Mine Village work camp.

Marchand approached Leonard Misener, president of the local United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America union -which employs about 60 workers at site.

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