Every year on April 28, we take time to remember and honour the many workers who have passed away, were injured, or made ill because of the work they do. It is completely unacceptable that 1,000 workers in this country lose their lives in the workplace every year.
I have been observing the Day of Mourning for many years. This day, and its message, are at the core of our purpose as union activists. But this year is different, and even more urgent.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses a new, unprecedented threat to the health and safety of ALL workers around the world. Our safety at work is on everyone’s mind more than ever before.
The pandemic prevents workers from gathering physically on April 28th to honour and mourn the dead and injured. But we will not be deterred – we will reaffirm the importance of this day.
Our thoughts are with the essential workers who continue to go to work every day and with their families. We grieve for those who have lost their lives because of this pandemic and we send our sincere condolences to their families.
This grief also drives us to work for better health and safety measures. It is a call to action that requires us all to commit to doing everything we can to prevent future workplace tragedies and illnesses. I take this responsibility to heart:
CUPW will continue to declare the right of every worker to a safe and healthy workplace;
CUPW will continue to demand that every worker have access to necessary health and safety protections on the job, and income support when we are ill or injured;
CUPW will continue to inform workers about our right to refuse unsafe work and our right to be informed and aware of hazards in the workplace;
CUPW will continue to demand that all employers fulfill their responsibilities and obligations to provide safe and healthy workplaces for workers.
On April 28, let us remind ourselves of the importance of mourning those who have passed, and continue to fight for the living.