|We mourn the tragic news of the death of the Saltel family and CAW member Kerry Saltel
Sad and shocking news came out of the Alberta Town of Grande Cache, where CAW Local 4001 member Kerry Saltel (49) was found
dead in the family home alongside his wife Gail (47) and youngest daughter Erika (17), who was set to graduate from Grande Cache
Community High School on May 23rd. Grande Cache RCMP discovered the family on May 5th at around 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time and
made national news headlines.
Following an investigation by the RCMP and autopsies performed in Edmonton, it was determined that all three family members died
from gunshot injuries with Kerry Saltel's appearing to have been self-inflicted, according to RCMP Cpl. Wayne Oakes.
Left orphaned by the ordeal is Linnea Saltel, 19, who in Grande Prairie at the time of the shootings.
Brother Saltel was a former CAW Local 4067 member (now Local 4002) in Winnipeg where he worked various positions at CN, and
spent several years working as a Crew Dispatcher at the Crew Management Centre in Winnipeg before it was centralized in
Edmonton in June 1995. He then transferred to the United Transportation Union (UTU) and trained and became qualified as a Yard
Switchman and then Conductor working in the Winnipeg terminal before transferring to Edmonton. Following being laid-off in the
UTU at Edmonton, Brother Saltel and his family relocated to Grande Prairie, Alberta where he hired on as a Conductor with the short
line railroad Alberta RailNet (ARN) in June 1999, when ARN, a subsidiary of North American RailNet, purchased the rail lines from CN,
which run north of Jasper through Grande Cache and east, west, and north of Grande Prairie. He accepted a promotion with ARN
and moved to Grande Cache to work as a Transportation Manager. Upon Savage Alberta Railway purchasing the rail operations
from ARN in 2005, Brother Saltel returned to the bargaining unit (Local 4001 Alberta North Unit) and worked as a Locomotive
Engineer at Grande Cache. CN repurchased these rail lines in December 2006.
Brother Saltel was the person who contacted the CAW to organize the running trades at ARN in 2002, when the rail company was
non-union. He has not worked for over a year following being diagnosed with terminal cancer. He has been on Long Term Disability
CAW members who were Kerry Saltel’s coworkers at Savage Alberta Railway (CN) at Grande Cache and Grande Prairie were both
shocked and saddened by the news. So too were former coworkers in Edmonton and Winnipeg.
CAW Council 4000 Regional Representative Barry Kennedy, who was friends with both Kerry and Gail in the 1980s and 90s before
he transferred to Edmonton, said that the Saltel’s were good people who would help anybody when asked.” “Kerry was a big man,
but everybody called him a gentle giant – it’s hard to believe this happening. All of us who have known the family are deeply
saddened by this tragic news. It's surreal,” said Kennedy. "I remember when Linnea and Erika were little newborns"
"They were the good, kind, responsible citizens that every community is proud to have in their midst,” said Grande Cache Mayor
Louise Krewusik, who knew the Saltel family through the couple’s older daughter, Linnea, who was in middle school when Krewusik
was principal of Summitview Middle School.
"We will come together and we will do whatever needs to be done in order to support those who remain behind,” Krewusik said.
Many in the town are confused and saddened by the murder-suicide, but the Grande Cache community is doing all it can to support
Linnea, Krewusik said.
"It's got to be tough, tough, tough for her. It's going to be a real challenge for her to cope with this."
The community is considering creating a trust fund to help Linnea through college.
CAW Local 4001 President Ron Shore and Alberta North Unit Local Chairperson Dave Judge have expressed their condolences and
have said that the Local will also be providing assistance and financial support for Linnea. Local 4001 members are also making
their own contributions to assist Linnea. CN has sent a representative from Human Resources to also provide her with assistance.
Our sincere condolences go out to Linnea and her other family members in their sudden and tragic loss.