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Day of Mourning, April 28th

Some 23 years after CUPE’s National Health and Safety Committee recommended the creation of a remembrance day for workers killed or injured on the job, we are still demanding health and safety justice in our workplaces.

Today, different levels of government recognize the day. The federal government passed legislation in 1991 declaring April 28th “A Day of Remembrance for Workers Killed or Injured at Work.” The Day of Mourning was born of the values of unionists. It was created to stop the needless injuries and deaths that occur each and every day, when employers are negligent or governments fail to enforce laws. It is a powerful symbol of workers’ ongoing struggles for decent, safe working conditions and basic human rights.

This April 28th please take part in your local’s activities to mark the day. We must mourn the dead and continue to fight for the living.

CUPE Workplace Fatalities in 2006

  • Kim Weitzel, CUPE 873
  • Shawn Currier, CUPE 873
  • Jason Negrich, CUPE 857
  • Alain Simard, CUPE 957
  • Frederick Michael Bonvie, CUPE 281

Five CUPE members died at work in the last year. It is always with great sadness that our union reports these deaths because we know that all fatalities are preventable. CUPE calls on governments to enforce their respective health and safety legislation and we call on employers to respect the lives and dignity of CUPE members and all working people.

National Office Ceremony

The CUPE National Office held a Day of Mourning event a week early this year. The members of the National Health and Safety Committee were in Ottawa, and Brothers Paul and Claude didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity to mark the day together. Brother Paul spoke about the rise of workplace fatalities, and committed to having a dedicated space in the new CUPE National Office that will commemorate the names of CUPE members who have died on the job.

Brother Paul Moist at Manitoba Events

Paul will be participating in two ceremonies. On April 27th, he will attend the City of Winnipeg Day of Ceremonies. These are led by the City and Local 500 is represented and speaking.

On Aprll 28th, he is speaking at the Manitoba Federation of Labour Day of Ceremony.

Health & Safety Committee Members Honour Rideau Canal Workers

To mark the 175th anniversary of the building of the Rideau Canal, members of CUPE’s National Health and Safety Committee attended a commemorative ceremony with members of the Ottawa and District Labour Council, the Ottawa and District Injured Workers Group, and the Canal Commemorative Group to remember the workers who died building the canal.

The gathering took place on April 21st at the Celtic Cross memorial where the Rideau Canal meets the Ottawa River. The Celtic Cross is a memorial to the 1,100 workers who died while building the canal under brutal conditions between 1826 and 1832. The canal workers, referred to as navvies, dug the waterway with picks and shovels. Most of the workers were Irish and French. Native Canadians also made up the ranks of workers who toiled on the canal.

Wreath-Laying Ceremony at Frost Park in Yarmouth

Delegates from the CUPE Nova Scotia Convention this week in Yarmouth held a ceremony at the memorial site in Frost Park. They lay a wreath at the site dedicated to women who have been victims of violence. The ceremony was sponsored by the Union’s Women’s Committee. CUPE is one of four unions who worked in the Coalition Against Workplace Violence and recently pushed the provincial government to introduce regulations covering violence in the workplace.

April 28th Event at National District Council Meeting

Saturday’s ceremony will see a performance by CUPE member and poet SPIN, honouring and commemorating workers who were killed on the job.

SPIN was born in Guatemala to a resilient single mother. He is a communicator, agent of social change, and firm believer in the power of words. He strongly believes that poets have a responsibility to their craft and he devotes his poetry to the uplifting of oppressed communities worldwide. He is currently a proud member of CUPE local 1281.

Special Days:

  • National Meeting for District Councils - Toronto: April 27 - 29, 2007
  • International Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the Job: April 28, 2007
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Division Convention: April 29, 2007 to May 2, 2007
  • Asian History Month: Month of May
  • May Day – International Workers’ Day: Tommy Douglas Vision for Medicare National Conference - Regina, Saskatchewan: May 3 - 4, 2007
  • Québec Division Convention: May 8 - 11, 2007
  • British Columbia Division Convention: May 9 - 12, 2007
  • Prince Edward Island Division Convention: May 17 - 18, 2007
  • International Day Against Homophobia: May 17, 2007
  • Ontario Division Convention: May 23 - 26, 2007

FastFacts in your inbox!

Did you know you can get FastFacts by email? To sign up for this service, please send an email to clandry@cupe.ca. Make sure to include your name, Local number, email address and province. If you were receiving FastFacts by fax, also include your fax number so that we may delete your name from the fax list. :cope 491