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Asbestos fuels Canada’s longest health-related strike

The Story

Their demands are simple. The 500 Baie Verte, Newfoundland miners are not asking for more pay or more vacation time. Instead they want double lockers: one for their clean clothes and another to store their asbestos-covered work clothes. They want car washes and showers. They want a clean lunchroom. It's all in an attempt to protect themselves and their families from exposure to the deadly asbestos dust. With these basic demands the Baie Verte asbestos miners begin the longest strike in Canadian history for health reasons. The protest catches the attention of the nation. Support floods in from across the country. Baie Verte miners fight to protect the entire community. The near 15-week strike finally comes to an end when the Johns Manville Corporation, the multinational that owns Advocate Mines in Baie Verte, finally agrees to the workers' demands.

Medium: Radio
Program: Sunday Morning
Broadcast Date: May 7, 1978
Guest(s): Gerald Dwyer, Gus Lewis, Kelly Lewis, Robert Morgan
Host: Bronwyn Drainie
Reporter: Stuart McLean
Duration: 17:55

Did You know?

• Proving a direct link between asbestos and cancer can be difficult because the asbestos-induced scarring gradually accumulates in the lungs over a period of 20 to 30 years.

• Studies showed that Baie Verte had 14,000 times the normal amount of asbestos particles in the air.

• Baie Verte residents told CBC's Stuart McLean how asbestos dust would cover their homes, cars and playgrounds. One woman testified that she found asbestos fibres in the fish her family caught.


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