CAW Pays Tribute to Workers Killed on the Job

Toronto, Ontario

April 28, 2003


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Sterling Strike Mandate
CAW Pays Tribute to Workers Killed on the Job
dated May 1, 2003

April 28, 2003
Toronto, Ontario


       The Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job was commemorated at numerous locations across Canada on April 28th. In Toronto union activists and the general public gathered at the Chinese Railway Workers Monument to the thousands of Chinese workers who died building the railway across the Canadian Rockies in the late 1800's.
       CAW's director of Health and Safety Cathy Walker speaking first in Chinese and then in English paid homage to the role the Chinese played in building Canada and also paid a special tribute to a more recent victim of a work place tragedy which occurred March 4th at the Woodbridge Foam plant in Toronto.

Cathy Walker
CAW Health & Safety Director

       "Unfortunately our CAW Local 112 brother, So Dau Lieu, was killed at work. The guard was not working on the machine. This was a terrible tragedy. Brother Lieu was ethnic Chinese from Viet Nam. Like so many immigrants to Canada he came here for a better life. But on March 4th his life ended. Such tragedies must not continue."

       Walker said the tragedy occurred despite the fact that the both the union in the plant and the company had worked together to make the factory a safe place to work.

Cathy Walker
CAW Health & Safety Director

       "It reminds us all we must redouble our efforts to try and prevent tragedies like this because in hindsight it was a completely preventable occurrence. And we all I think have been given a wake-up call to redouble our efforts in this regard. Particularly for machine guarding and lock out systems."

       Walker and other speakers pointed out the shameful actions of the Canadian government in its treatment of Chinese immigrants and the head tax each was forced to pay. Walker said that while government racism has since been abolished, the reaction to the SARS outbreak shows society has a long way to go.

Cathy Walker
CAW Health & Safety Director

       "We have to recognize that racism is still unfortunately endemic in our society. When you look today with the S.A.R.S. epidemic, we know that Chinese workers were being discriminated against. People were worried about going into Chinese restaurants. Some people were phoning and saying, "I don't know if I should serve Chinese customers because of SARS." So we had to do a lot of reassuring that Chinese workers are no more at risk than anyone else."

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."


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