CUPE 4475 observes a minute of silence at the Hôtel-Dieu de Sherbrooke for the Day of Remembrance for those killed or injured at work on April 28, 2021. Photo CUPE 4475

Today at 11:11 am, all staff at the CIUSSS de l’Estrie-CHUS observed a minute of silence during this day of remembrance for workers killed or injured on the job. This year, the day honours the 18 health care and social services workers in Quebec who died of COVID-19 and the 41,000 who contracted the virus. At least 1269 employees with the CIUSSS de l’Estrie-CHUS were infected.

To mark the occasion, union representatives from CUPE 4475 gathered at the Hôtel-Dieu de Sherbrooke. They included union representative Éric Bergeron.

“Today, we’ll be taking a minute to think of the employees in the system, who paid with their health while caring for the public in Estrie. From our standpoint as a union, it is all the more important to recognize them given that support from the Quebec government leaves something to be desired. This is also shown by the collective agreement negotiations that are dragging on and especially by the Legault government’s Bill 59, which is supposed to modernize the occupational health and safety system but includes several unacceptable steps backward,” explained CUPE union representative Éric Bergeron.

“This year, I wish to recognize the participation by management CIUSS de l’Estrie-CHUS in this minute of silence. Though the commemoration is a union initiative, the employer agreed to take part, and it is a nice gesture,” added Éric Bergeron.

On April 28 each year, workers, families, employers and others gather to pay tribute to those who lost their lives, suffered injuries or contracted physical or mental illnesses as a result of occupational accidents, hazards or harassment. This day has been observed around the world in the past 25 years. There are more than two million occupational accidents worldwide each year, including more than 5000 casualties, which represents about four accidents every minute. In Quebec, there are more than 90,000 victims of occupational accidents each year, or one every six minutes.

CUPE 4475 represents more than 6000 Category 2 employees with the CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS. Category 2 consists of paratechnical, auxiliary services and trades personnel. These CUPE members account for about 30 % of all personnel with the CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS.