Apr 13, 2012

Honour the dead, fight for the living

CUPE BC Convention delegates to join with community members to attend National Day of Mourning event in Victoria

VICTORIA— More than 600 delegates to CUPE BC’s annual convention will join CUPE Local 50 members, the Victoria Labour Council and community members on April 28, 2012 to honour the dead and fight for the living in recognition of the National Day of Mourning. 

This community-based event will take place at Centennial Square beginning at 9 a.m. Speakers will include CUPE National President Paul Moist, CUPE BC President Barry O’Neill, Victoria Labour Council President Michael Eso, Compensation Employees’ Union Director David Clarabut, and Victoria City Councillor Ben Isitt.

“For all the progress that’s been made around workplace safety, more than 140 workers were killed at work in B.C. last year,” said O’Neill. “Workplace safety is a huge issue for all working people, and that’s why our more-than 600 delegates will take the time away from the Convention floor to demand action.”

“We have celebrated this day every year since it began in 1984,” said CUPE 50 president John Burrows. “Over the past few years we have noticed that employers have significantly changed the meaning of this day and used it as an opportunity to expound on their own safety virtues. This year we are focused on taking our Day of Mourning back and taking back our compensation system.”

The National Day of Mourning is a day that is devoted to commemorating workers who have been killed, injured, or suffered illness from work-related hazards and incidents. On this day throughout British Columbia, across Canada, and around the world people remember the dead, as a call to protect the living.

Last year in B.C. alone 142 workers were killed at work. On average almost 3 workers in B.C. die each week and 17 are permanently disabled every working day.

O’Neill says that employers must be held accountable and that it is their responsibility to ensure that workers return home safely every night.

CUPE BC’s annual convention is being held at the Victoria Convention Centre, April 25-28. Delegates will take a break from convention proceedings on Saturday morning to attend the memorial.

In 1984 CUPE’s National Health and Safety Committee proposed the idea for a day to honour workers injured or killed at work. This year will mark the 28th National Day of Mourning and it will be recognized in more than a hundred countries around the world.



COPE 491