Message from Daun Frederickson, President, CUPE Local 1091 regarding the National Day of Mourning
Dear CUPE 1091 Members and All Delta School District Staff, Students and Community,
The National Day of Mourning is observed in Canada each year on April 28. This was originally started by CUPE – Canadian Union of Public Employees in 1984 and was known as Workers’ Memorial Day. The Canadian Labour Congress then declared it an annual day of remembrance in 1985 and in December 1990 this day became a national observance with the passing of the Workers’ Mourning Day Act. On April 28, 1991 it became officially known as The National Day of Mourning for persons killed or injured in the workplace. The date itself – April 28 – was chosen because on that day in 1914 the Workers’ Compensation Act received its third reading in Parliament. Since its inception, this observance has spread to over 100 countries around the world.
As we approach the April 28 Day of Mourning, it is appropriate to reflect on the fact that many workers continue to be killed, infected, or seriously injured on the job. Many more have suffered and died from industrial accidents either caused by workplace exposures or inadequate safety measures. In British Columbia, 173 workplace fatalities were reported to WorkSafe BC in 2020. Thankfully we have not lost any members in Delta but we have had members injured on the job and many affected by COVID and are still recovering. This past year has been especially challenging for many of our members as they worked to provide frontline services through the COVID-19 pandemic. WorkSafe data current to April 16 has allowed 211 of the 317 COVID claims in public schools across BC.
As COVID-19 rages on, we must also now add health care, long-term care, essential workers, security, transportation/delivery, retail and banking to that growing list of affected workers. As we mourn those fallen heroes, we stand in solidarity with them, their loved ones, colleagues, and friends. A day of mourning not only honours those who have been injured or killed in the workplace, it is a renewal of our commitment to improve health and safety in the workplace, and to prevent further injuries, illnesses and deaths.
On April 28, Daun Frederickson, President CUPE Local 1091 and Joanne Gill, 3rd Vice President of Health and Safety will be raising the CUPE Day of Mourning flag at 8am at the School Board Office. For COVID safety protocols we must limit the attendance at this flag raising and instead we ask that you take a quiet moment on April 28 and join workers around the world to renew our resolve to demand healthier and safer workplaces and remember and honour those who have been injured, or killed at work affected by the COVID pandemic.
The CUPE Day of Mourning poster as well as book marks have been distributed to all schools and worksites in the District. Click here to read the CUPE ‘Workers Statement’. Please take the time to read these important messages and become aware of what matters for safety in everyone’s work.
Please watch for updates on the CUPE1091 Website at: www.cupe1091.ca and Social Media @CUPE1091 for Day of Mourning posts.
Thank you to the Delta School District for allowing the Local to raise the Day of Mourning flag, flying schools’ flags at half-mast in honour and declaring April 28 a Day of Mourning in our workplace.