Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Much has been said about the progress in the workplace regarding safety and fair wages. But it hasnt always been so. April 28th is the day we remember those we lost in poor working conditions as well as highlight the new preventative measures that we implement today.

All too often, death, injury, and illness at work were hidden away and taken for granted. Workers' Memorial Day is an opportunity to promote campaigns and union organization in the fight for improvements in workplace safety.

The slogan for the day is Remember the dead - Fight for the living.

Since it's inception in 1984, Worker's Memorial Day has occurred on this date to commemorate the anniversary of the comprehensive Workers Compensation Act passed in 1914. It was combined with the Canadian Worker's Day of Mourning shortly after.

In the last decade, this day has also symbolized the inclusion of other causes through annual themes such as the Global Ban on asbestos in '06 and increasing awareness of HIV/AIDS from '07 to today. The International Labor Organization (ILO) has taken up the continual theme management while proclaiming 2010 to be Global Health & Safety.

Today is now an International day of remembrance of workers killed in incidents at work, or by diseases caused by work and annually Workers' Memorial Day events are held throughout the world. You will find communities commemorate the day with speeches, multi faith religious services, laying wreathes, planting trees, unveiling monuments, balloon releases, raising public awareness of issues and laying out empty shoes to symbolise those who have died at work.

If I could point out the obvious coincidence of the tragic mining disaster only a few weeks ago. The safety measures that were ignored which caused the deaths of so many are the very reasons we highlight those workplace precautions today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, I have to point out that you are the first in the area to even mention this day of "commemoration and contemplation" as I call it.

Many lives have been lost through neglect or greed through the years. We do get to see this reality play out in the mine disaster as you pointed out, but what about the decades of virtual slave labor that built the empires that ended up "too big to fail"?

Our commercial farms are fighting the push to allow their workers collective bargaining. The reasons are they would have to pay them what they're worth, and they'd have to have legal documents to be eligible. Not good for the farm owners.

Lets pause for a moment for the workers who sacrificed so much before us to make this country as good as hey could.