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Sisters and Brothers,
First observed by CUPE members in 1984, April 28 is the Day of Mourning for workers who have been killed or injured on the job. Since that first commemoration 29 years ago, the date has become a national observance and has spread to more than 100 countries worldwide.
April 28 is a day to mourn and to acknowledge that each worker’s death is not only a tragedy for their families, but also for co-workers and the entire community. On this day we stand in solidarity with workers around the world and share with each other a collective sense of loss.
Our union bargains for health and safety rules to prevent such tragedies. We stand up for workers and provide the protection they need to feel secure in reporting incidents and workplace hazards. Through political action, we pursue laws to protect workers and make sure those laws are enforced.
This Spring, our Injured Worker and Health & Safety committees are working on a new campaign to inform members about the importance of reporting workplace hazards, incidents and injuries. When the campaign posters and website are ready, we encourage members to post the information prominently in every workplace so that we can avoid more tragedies.
Between 1993 and 2011, at least 17,062 workers died due to work-related causes. On April 28, we ask all CUPE Ontario members to pause and remember our sisters and brothers who have lost their lives at work since the last Day of Mourning.
Tara Lynn Veri, 38, was a member of Local 1766. She worked at Children’s Aid Society of Haldimand and Norfolk. She died as a result of an auto accident while providing public services to protect children. Our thoughts are with her family, including husband Rene Veri and daughter Alexis.
Judy Turcotte, 58, was a member of Local 1465-3. A registered practical nurse at Algonquin Nursing Home in Mattawa, she died suddenly and unexpectedly on the job on April 17. She gave 35 years of care to residents at the nursing home, where she worked since its opening in 1977. Our thoughts are with her family.
April 28 is a day to rally the world’s workers to reflect on what needs to be done to prevent more deaths and injuries and to signal the need to continue our never-ending fight for decent, safe working conditions. This week the need to carry on this struggle worldwide was driven home by the horrible collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh, which killed at least 300 workers. The day is an opportunity for workers here in Ontario and beyond to renew our commitment to defending our rights to collective bargaining and to advocate on behalf of workers for safe working environments.
On April 28, we reaffirm our solidarity and commitment to workplace health and safety and state to all that we mourn the dead and fight for the living.
Fred Hahn, President
Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer