Report, contributed by Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Group’s Christine Nugent and Dianne Baddeley, on a highly successful 4th annual Justice Bike Ride and organizing event in northern Ontario. A great start to a busy (pre-election!) week leading up to rallies and vigils across the province for Injured Workers’ Day…
The bike ride from Elliot Lake to Massey to Sudbury and the launch of the new Sudbury Injured Workers Group was a huge success.
The pictures tell the story and there are many.
The Elliot Lake conference was on Occupational Disease. It brought scientist studying the effects of radiation and McIntyre Powder on miners lungs, researchers looking at miner documentation and Janice Martell’s presentation on the MacIntyre Powder Project . All together they are a powerful force to reckon with.
The reception for the ONIWG Bike Riders brought a warm feeling for all of us with the Hobbs family and many local supporters expressing thanks for the amazing effort the bike riders took on. Willy Noiles as President of ONIWG presented the Workers Comp is a Right Campaign and our literature table, Big Book of Injured Workers, JFIW Newspaper, petitions and fliers were distributed widely. We met many miners on the streets of Elliot Lake.
The bike riders arrived on Massey to a warm welcome once again with the Hobbs family (in full attendance), our finest from the Manitoulin Northshore Injured Workers Group and MP Carole Hughes who us well informed of the struggle the miners face. We were entertained by Peter Page singing “WSIB Blues”. Once again Willy Noiles explained the campaign.
The riders took a beautiful alternate route from Massey to Espanola. After a well-deserved rest they pushed on to Lively then Sudbury completing an amazing 110 Kilometers!!
They were met in Sudbury by NDP candidate Jamie West, supporters, Janice Martell and the MacIntyre Powder Project banner and other bike riders, marchers who headed 1 km to the USW 6500 Hall. A reception took place with a full room.
The Sudbury deputy mayor read the city proclamation endorsing June 1 Injured Workers Day.
USW 6500 Health and Safety representative JP Mrochek welcomed the riders who enjoyed a well-deserved standing ovation for their efforts to bring attention to the MacIntyre Powder Project and occupational disease – that other workplace fatality – and the Workers Comp is a Right Campaign.
The Steelworkers union took us onto the final day with a successful activist meeting in the afternoon and a well attended first Sudbury Injured Worker meeting where many workers came and were enthusiastic about sharing their heart wrenching stories of pain, suffering, denial and lengthy fights with the compensation system. A humbling experience for us all.
Willy Noiles was instrumental in making the meeting a welcoming place, explaining who ONIWG was and how groups assist workers in many ways. He managed a Sudbury CTV interview as well…
We are heading south today and look forward to the Vigil and June 1st events.
What a ride!
(Photos supplied by Janice Martell)
- CTV News Sudbury. 2018 May 29. “Supporting Injured Workers.” (video of interview with Wally Noiles)
- Russell, Rosalind. 2018 May 28. “Memorial Ride Honouring Miner Who Inspired into McIntyre Powder Research.” My Algoma Manitoulin Now
- Sudbury Star. 2018 May 26. “Injured Workers Riding to Sudbury for Justice.”
- Ontario Political Forum. 2018 May 24. “Justice for Injured Workers Bike Ride: Four Days of Activities in Support of Injured Workers.”
- Elliot Lake Standard. 2018 May 23. “Injured Workers Cycle 170km to Call for Justice.”