Annual Workers' Memorial Day - Sudbury
June 26, 2013, 12:10 PM EST
On June 20, 1984 four miners lost their lives following a rockburst at Falconbridge Mine in Sudbury. Every year since that tragic workplace accident, Mine Mill Local 598/CAW has organized a memorial service to honour their memories and highlight the need for increased vigilance to encourage strong workplace health and safety rules and practices.
"More people have died at work than in war," said Richard Paquin, President of Local 598, as quoted in The Sudbury Star.
Paquin addressed about 150 people at the memorial service on June 20, recounting the tragic events that led to the deaths of local union members Sulo Korpela, Daniel Lavallee, Richard Chenier and Wayne St. Michael.
In his speech, Paquin also referenced the recent fire at a Bangladeshi garment factory that claimed the lives of more than 1000 workers as well as recent incidents at the Vale Stobie mine in Sudbury and at the Eagle River mine near White River, Ontario where three miners lost their lives.
"If anyone thinks that health and safety issues are a thing of the past, they are sadly mistaken," Paquin said.
Jerry Dias, Assistant to the CAW National President, who also attended the memorial service, credited Local 598 for their ongoing work in promoting and enhancing safety rules at the Sudbury Xstrata Nickel mine. The Xstrata mine has not had a fatality in more than 12 years.
"Every worker deserves to return home safely at the end of their shift," Dias said. "If we put a strong emphasis on worker health and safety, we can avoid accidents and prevent casualties. Local 598 is a shining example of this."