NS: Bullying not a factor in Irving Shipyard employee suicide, insists president

Kevin McCoy, the president of Irving Shipbuilding, is denying that workplace harassment played any role in the suicide of long-time Halifax shipyard employee Peter MacKenzie last week.

Workers at the Halifax Shipyard walked off the job on Thursday. © Philip Croucher/Metro
Workers at the Halifax Shipyard walked off the job on Thursday. © Philip Croucher/Metro

[HALIFAX, NS]– The president of Irving Shipbuilding is denying that workplace harassment played any role in the suicide of long-time shipyard employee Peter MacKenzie last week. “No aspect of our investigation around Mr. MacKenzie involved bullying. None whatsoever,” said Kevin McCoy. Nearly 200 Irving employees walked off the job on Thursday when they learned of their co-worker’s death following what they described as months of bullying by management.
“He was singled out and harassed,” said a shipyard worker who worked with MacKenzie for 25 years but preferred not to be named. “We’ve had enough and it’s as simple as that. … It boiled over.”
Nonetheless, McCoy said management received no reports of bullying involving MacKenzie, adding that he recognized emotions ran high on Thursday.
“We take very seriously any complaints of harassment,” he added. “There’s no place for that in our shipyard.”
MacKenzie had received a 30-day suspension due to what management described as issues to do with the daily safety inspections of his scaffolding.
Halifax police said they responded to a suicide call to a home in Eastern Passage at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday and found a 58-year-old man dead.
“I think we have taken a very measured approach,” said McCoy.
He would not say whether any prior disciplinary action had been taken against MacKenzie.
McCoy said Irving Shipbuilding has been cracking down over the past year ever since internal investigations uncovered reports of intimidation and threats in the shipyard.
Five of the seven Irving Shipbuilding employees who lost their jobs in the past year were let go due to workplace violence or threats of workplace violence.
Employees at Irving have complained that the company has become much harsher in the past year and a half since winning the national shipbuilding contract.
Management at Irving is currently in discussions with the union representing shipyard workers on how better to resolve conflicts.
Geordon Omand for Metro Halifax-Published on December 02, 2013

Related Articles:
Archives: Workplace Bullying
Archives: Suicides
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10 thoughts on “NS: Bullying not a factor in Irving Shipyard employee suicide, insists president

  1. President is there to protect the public perception of the company. Unless the investigation was carried out by a truly independent third party, there will never be any way to find out whether harassment truly did or didn’t play a role.

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  2. I am awarding you the Blog of the Year Award 2013 as an expression of my gratitude for following “The Journal of Wall Grimm” blog. You can see the post here: http://wp.me/p41c99-hx If you don’t accept awards, that’s no problem at all. Awarding you is my way to thank you and it is of no insult to me if you decline.

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    • The president has no idea what goes on within the ranks of the employees, he only knows what management tells him, which is in most cases the farthest from the truth, that from my experiences is the truth.

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      • The company and management is not at fault for the suicide in any way. Life is how you make it while there’s always going to be crap to take from people at any job whether if you’re a labourer or a dentist. The best way to deal with it is to not take it personally and just do your job. It’s part of earning their keep in life. MacKenzie had to have done something wrong to get suspended because no busy managers would have enough time on their hands to be out to get somebody. He didn’t even lose his job which happens to a lot of people who are still trying their best. Those 200 workers who walked out on the job are a bunch of nuts and should be replaced with people that would appreciate their jobs enough to not treat the union like a luxury.

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      • Well it seems quit obvious you have never been Bullied, and are probably working in management somewhere, but that’s OK everybody is entitled to their opinion, all the suicide victims, and victims period, will be inclined to disagree with you including me, but hey, thanx for sharing your thoughts

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  3. Isn’t it ironic how management, are always the party most trusted and believed, but in reality are in 90% of all Bullying cases the party responsible and should be brought up on murder charges, my abusers cannot escape, they are only prolonging the inevitable and the judgement they will eventually face.

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