Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Fired Suncor blogger speaking out

Fired Oilsands blogger speaking out
Trish Kozicka, Global News: Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mike Thomas believes he was fired from his job as an apprentice electrician with Aecon Lockerbie & Hole - a company under contract to Suncor - because he blogged about what he describes as inhumane, unhealthy and unsanitary conditions at Suncor's Mackenzie and Voyageur camps on the Firebag 3 project north of Fort McMurray.

Thomas described some of what he claims are substandard conditions which are detailed on his blog. "Unidentified stains on the walls...shower heads caked in brown and green encrusted with slime - this was reported to camp management several times," said Thomas.

"All of the Suncor camps in Alberta are extremely substandard. Some have been burned down and forced into renovations; people have gotten sick, people have died," said Thomas. "You don't hear about it because Suncor keeps a tight lid on everything and people are afraid of losing their jobs.

Thomas said he didn't expect anything to happen while writing his blog, but two days after his last post on October 4th, Thomas said he was fired and banned from all company sites. He believes the termination came under the direction of Suncor after he chose to post video of the conditions on his blog.

Since he's been fired, the hits on his blog have skyrocketed. "People started to read and talk about it and, you know, when you treat people this way long enough, people relate," said Thomas. "People believe in what's fair. And this was extremely unfair."

Brad Bellows, a Suncor official, wouldn't speak about this case specificalluy because of privacy issues, but told Global News that Suncor has a policy prohibiting recording devices at all of its work sites. Bellows also said Suncor is constantly working to improve living conditions at the work camps through a continuous audit process.

Thomas is now pursuing a wrongful dismissal case with his union, IBEW Local 424.

"I want to see that camp replaced, said Thomas. "I'm no longer up there, but there's thousands of people that need better living conditions."

With files from Jennifer Ivanov.
© Copyright (c) CW Media Inc.


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