April 28 marks the annual National Day of Mourning which is dedicated to remembering and honouring workers who have lost their lives or suffered injury or illness on the job. CUPE 3911 pays its deepest respects to the families of all those Canadian workers who have died on the job or as a result of job-related diseases and injuries. We call on all our members and on people across Canada to take part in commemorations and to take up the demands of the workers’ movement for justice and an end to attacks on workers’ health and safety.
In Canada, there are about 1,000 annual Canadian workplace fatalities. Sadly, Alberta lost 166 men and women to workplace injury or illness in 2017. The International Labour Organization reported in 2014 that around the world every day, 6,300 workers die from a work-related accident or disease. Across Canada, worker compensation boards in 2014 recorded 239,462 lost-time accidents. But, according to the United Steelworkers, this represents only 30% of all disabling injuries and illnesses suffered annually by Canadian workers. It is also important to note that fewer than half of all Canadians with disabilities are employed, compared to 80 per cent of the general population.
We express our unconditional support for all the injured workers who have to cope with their disabilities as a result of work-related injuries or diseases. We support workers who through no fault of their own have unfortunately become addicted to pain drugs prescribed for their injuries. We salute all those workers who are fighting to uphold health and safety on the job in conditions of impunity for those who employ them. We condemn the governments at various levels for trying to restructure compensation programs to force workers to rely on private insurance companies which have the aim of getting workers to fend for themselves. Mourn for the Dead! Fight for the Living!
Note: Announced commemorative Events in Alberta include: Edmonton, April 28, 2:00 PM, Grant Notley Park, 116 St. & 100 Ave (by the Obelisk). Calgary, April 28, 1100 AM, SAIT Orpheus Theatre, 1301 16th Ave NW. Grande Prairie, April 27, (Time?), Safety City, 10318 92 St. Red Deer, April 27, 1100 AM, Red Deer City Hall, 4914 48 Ave. Contact your local Labour Council for further information.