Canada’s Parliament passed the Workers Mourning Day Act in 1991, enshrining April 28 as a National Day of Mourning eight years after the day of remembrance was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress. Today the Day of Mourning is observed in more than 100 countries, is recognized as Workers’ Memorial Day by the International Labour Organization (ILO), and as International Workers' Memorial Day and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
Today in the Yukon at 1 pm:
We will remember all workers who have died, were injured, or became ill from their job.
We will honour the workers who risk their health and safety to serve others, especially during these dangerous and difficult times.
We will commit to protecting workers and preventing further workplace tragedies
With the death of Richard Matthew Cull near Dawson City just five days ago, these pledges to remember, honour and protect all Yukon workers are more relevant and more poignant than ever.
Red, as his friends called him, was just 41 years old. He woke up on Friday and went to work to start another season of mining. He did not make it home. This tragic event serves as a stark reminder to all employers and all workers that it’s not enough to remember, honour and pledge to protect. We must follow through; we have to double down on our commitment to safe workplaces and occupational health and safety stewardship.
Around the world and here in the Yukon, workers are going to their essential jobs in the face of a pandemic that continues to ravage front-line workers. We must continue to fight for these who labour in harm's way every day.
It’s up to all of us to fight for safe workplaces, to make sure that every worker can come home to their family and friends at the end of their working day. Every accident, every injury, every illness and every work related death should make us angry. The death of Red, the deaths of three workers in Nunavut last week - these deaths should spark our rage, should fuel our determination and inspire action. Preventing workplace injury and illness must be our top priority.
Please join us today at 1pm for the Day of Mourning Ceremony hosted by the Yukon Federation of Labour. This is a virtual event which will be live streamed on the Yukon Federation of Labour's Facebook page, or viewed through ZOOM at https://zoom.us/j/97103973314
Together, we MUST keep each other safe.
Steve Geick, President
Yukon Employees’ Union