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Montra006c, Thursday, January 23, 2003 The Montra006c outside workers’ union (CUPE-301) is asking for a coroner’s inquest to investigate yesterday morning’s fatal accident on Notre-Dame Street. Shortly after 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, a mini-van carrying four members of one family swerved on the slippery roadway before crashing into a truck. Both parents and their five year-old daughter died in this accident. An 18-month old baby survived.

“For us, this isn’t just another news item, it’s a real tragedy. If there was negligence or if this accident was due to a desire to save money at the expense of public safety, those in charge must be held responsable,” said Alexandre Boulerice, CUPE union representative.

According to the information gathered by the union, the number of salt spreaders assigned to this sector was reduced during the night preceding the drama. At midnight, two of the six salt spreaders in operation were withdrawn. Other vehicles were then withdrawn around 4:15 a.m. and, until 7:00 a.m., only one salt spreader covered the entire Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and Mercier sector. In addition, contrary to custom, priority was assigned to the sidewalks, to the detriment of the streets, particularly Notre-Dame Street. This is an devastating situation for the union, “Many questions remain unanswered. At -35 degrees Celsius, with the humidity from the river, a layer of abrasives must be maintained on the pavement to prevent black ice from forming; it appears this was not done. Consequently, an inquest should be held to understand what really happened and to ensure that such incidents are prevented in the future,” concluded Alexandre Boulerice.

CUPE represents about 70% of all municipal employees in Qub0065c. In addition to the municipal sector, CUPE is present in 10 other sectors of work in Qub0065c, including health care and social services, education, urban and air transportation, hydroelectricity, communications and Qub0065c government corporations and public agencies. With close to 100,000 members in Qub0065c, it is the largest QFL affiliate.

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