TORONTO, April 26 /CNW/ - At the end of a week in which two high-profile
workplace deaths included a Toronto Transit Commission worker and an engineer
on a runaway train in BC, national and international leaders of the United
Steelworkers (USW) are taking part in events across Canada commemorating
workers killed because of their work.
"This internationally-recognized Day of Mourning is a solemn time for
members of our union," said USW National Director Ken Neumann, who will speak
to a noon rally on Friday (April 27) at downtown Toronto's Larry Sefton Park,
just behind city hall.
"The park has a lot of meaning for Steelworkers because Larry Sefton was
a Steelworker leader during the union's formative years until shortly before
his death in 1973," said Neumann. "He was a champion of safe and healthy
workplaces and it is always fitting to hold Day of Mourning events at the park
named after him."
USW Ontario/Atlantic Director Wayne Fraser, who will be at the
Steelworkers Hall in Kingston, ON, on Saturday morning (April 28 8:30 a.m.),
said the struggle to save lives at work is ongoing.
"You don't always hear every gruesome story," he said. "But, as long as
employers continue to cut corners, and as long as corporate interests override
the interests of working people, the slaughter will continue."
USW Western Canada Director Steve Hunt will take part in a Friday morning
ceremony (10 a.m.) at the Sanctuary in Hastings Park, Vancouver. Saturday will
find Hunt in Kimberley, BC, where four workers, two contractors and two
paramedics, were killed nearly a year ago in a dark, airless shed at the
decommissioned Sullivan Mine.
"That incident, and the fact that in 2005 43 forestry workers were killed
on the job over less than a one-year period, is proof that deregulation and
contracting out are dangerous, even deadly, practices," said Hunt. "Our union
will not stop putting pressure on governments and employers until workers'
lives are no longer deemed expendable."
USW International President Leo W. Gerard will be at two Day of Mourning
events on Saturday. First, Gerard will join Steelworkers and other union
members in Sudbury at 9 a.m., followed at 3 p.m. in Elliot Lake, where a
workers' memorial will be unveiled. The memorial contains the names of
hundreds of miners killed over the history of mines in the area.
Lynn Williams, Order of Canada recipient and retired USW International
President, will also be at the Elliot Lake ceremony, along with
singer/songwriter Rita McNeil.
"These are important events for every worker," said Gerard. "As leaders
in a union like the Steelworkers, we must never let our guard down when it
comes to health and safety. While we mourn for those who have been killed as a
result of injury or illness, we must always fight for the living."
Around the world, annual job-related deaths are said to be in the range
of 1.9 - 2.3 million.
The USW represents more than 280,000 men and women working in every
sector of Canada's economy.
For more information, visit the Steelworkers' website, www.usw.ca.
For further information:
For further information: Ken Neumann, (416) 487-1571, (416) 558-2510;
Wayne Fraser, (416) 243-8792, (416) 577-4045; Steve Hunt, (604) 683-1117,