You are currently viewing Remembering Workers’ Day of Mourning: Reflecting on Safety Together

Remembering Workers’ Day of Mourning: Reflecting on Safety Together

As April 28 approaches, we pause to honor the Workers’ Day of Mourning, a time to remember those who’ve tragically lost their lives while on the job. It’s a somber moment that reminds us all to put safety first and renew our commitment to preventing workplace accidents and tragedies. As we renew our commitment to workplace safety, it’s crucial to remember the Canary in the coal mines. In the early days of mining, miners took canaries underground as an early warning system for toxic gases. If the canary stopped singing, it signaled danger, prompting miners to evacuate. While technology has evolved, the Canary remains a powerful symbol of sacrifice and resilience in the pursuit of worker safety. Let us honor its legacy by continuing to strive for safer workplaces for all.

This year, our hearts ache as we mourn the loss of cherished members of our CUPE family who passed this year.

Their names stay with us, reminding us of the risks workers face every day and urging us to make our workplaces safer.

As advocates for workers’ rights, it’s up to us to stand up for safety. Every worker should know their rights, like:

  1. The right to say no to unsafe work: If something feels off, workers have the right to refuse until it’s checked out.
  2. The right to have a say: We all should have a say in what’s safe at work and be able to speak up about hazards without fear.
  3. The right to know: Everyone should have info about workplace hazards and how to stay safe.
  4. The right to be safe from retaliation: No one should get in trouble for standing up for safety.

Keeping workplaces safe is a team effort. Employers need to listen to their workers and work together to fix safety issues. Health and safety committees play a big part in this by bringing workers and bosses together to talk about making things safer.

But we know it’s not always easy. Sometimes, meetings get skipped, or workers feel like no one’s listening. We’ve got to keep pushing to make sure our rights are respected and our safety concerns are taken seriously.

And let’s not forget, workplace health and safety isn’t just about physical safety. Mental health matters too. Creating a supportive environment for mental well-being is just as important as having safety gear.

This Workers’ Day of Mourning, let’s recommit to looking out for each other and making our workplaces safer. Let’s take this day to learn more about how we can protect ourselves and our coworkers. By doing this, we honor the memory of those we’ve lost and build a future where everyone comes home safe and sound.

CUPE has lots of resources to help us learn about workplace health and safety and our rights as workers. Let’s use them to make our workplaces safer for everyone.

Please also see the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Website, as it has many important resources and videos.

Be safe, be well, and get home to your families each and every day!