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CUPE, school board initiative in New Westminster creates new tradition for April 28

NEW WESTMINSTER An annual day of mourning for workers killed, injured or disabled on the job will have added significance in New Westminster, thanks to a joint initiative by CUPE Local 409 (New Westminster Schools) and School District 40.

Beginning tomorrow, New Westminster schools will honour fallen workers across Canada by flying their flags at half-mast every year on April 28. The tradition was proposed by CUPE Local 409 member Marcel Marsolais.

John Ahlers, a member of the unions OH&S committee, will read a CUPE members mission statement at a Day of Mourning event organized by the local at New Westminster Secondary School. Ahlers address to students, an opportunity to stand together with the worlds workers to remember those who have died on the job, will be followed by the traditional moment of silence at 11a.m.

New workersparticularly young people beginning summer jobs–are up to six times as likely to be killed or injured on the job than experienced workers, says CUPE BC president Barry ONeill.

Thats why its so important that we observe this occasion every year while increasing our efforts to provide the necessary training to protect our young workers.

In another initiative spearheaded by CUPE Local 387 (New Westminster Civic), the city of New Westminster will unveil a special plaque at city hall commemorating workers killed and injured on the job.

Each year on April 28, CUPE members remember the dead and injured workers who have made the ultimate sacrifice to earn a living by commemorating the day in different ways. At 11 a.m., union members will participate in a minute of silence.

The Day of Mourning was established at a CUPE biennial health and safety conference held in Vancouver in the spring of 1986. Later, the Canadian Labour Congress declared an annual day of remembrance for workers killed and injured on the job.

For a PDF of other Day or Mourning events around British Columbia, please go to Events on the CUPE BC website at www.cupe.bc.ca.


Daniel Gawthrop, CUPE Communications, (604) 999-6132.