Every year, on April 28, we pause to recognize workers who have been killed or injured on the job. The Day of Mourning, created by CUPE members and first observed in 1984, is recognized by workers in communities across Canada and in more than 100 countries worldwide.
No one should die because of their work, yet in Ontario a worker dies almost every day because of workplace hazards and incidents. Worker deaths are tragedies not only for their families, but for the people they work with and for their communities. On this day, we stand in solidarity with workers around the world and share with each other a collective sense of loss.
By remembering those who have been killed or injured, we remember why we must continue to fight for the health and safety of workers. 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.
Our Injured Worker and Health & Safety committees are working on new campaigns to raise awareness about workplace hazards, incidents and injuries, and to provide better support to workers who have been injured on the job.
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.
Bonnie Robson was a member of Local 1880 at Community Living Algoma. She died on the job while working alone in an overnight position at a group home. Bonnie was a union member for 25 years and a strong supporter of her union. While her tragic passing was not the result of a workplace accident, this member died while at work and we honour Bonnie and her family by remembering her today. Her daughter, Rochella Robson, is president of CUPE Local 1528, and credits her mother for her union involvement.
We must continue our fight to protect workers both here in Ontario and around the world. It is only days since the anniversary of the Bangladesh garment factory disaster that killed hundreds of workers. It is an anniversary that starkly reminds us of the importance of international solidarity and the need for workers around the world to stand up for each other’s health and safety.
On this Day of Mourning, we reaffirm our solidarity and commitment to workplace health and safety and as we mourn the dead, we pledge to continue fighting for the living.