Day of Mourning

April 8, 1999


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Day of Mourning
Day of Mourning
dated April 8, 1999

1998 weighs heavy on the CAW as it mourns the death of twelve of its members, who died in industrial accidents, in the Big Three, in the auto parts and foundry sectors, in the East coast fishery and in the mining industry of Ontario and the West coast.
For the rest of the Canadian workforce, over seven hundred workers were killed on the job.
Marge Waller of the London and District Worker's Health Council blames corporate greed and government budget cuts for this shocking death toll, and for the thousands of workers who are injured and then abandoned.

Marge Waller,
London and District Worker's Health Council

"People will continue to die as long as we conduct ourselves in the fashion that profits are more important than a human life. We don't put any value on the life of a worker. The Compensation Board is the first person to devalue their life."
"They simply adjudicate the claim. They never sit down and talk to the worker. They don't know the experience. The worker misses something on their form six to fill in about their job, chances are the claim is rejected"

On April 28, at memorials to workers killed on the job like this one in St. Catharines, Canadians will pause to remember and mourn those killed on the job.
But mourning the dead is not enough accord to Cathy Walker, CAW National Director of Health and Safety.

Cathy Walker,
CAW National Director of Health and Safety

"Rank and file CAW members from coast to coast to coast have to use their health and safety rights. They have to ensure that they insist on their right to know about workplace hazards, whether it is harmful chemicals or safety hazards. They have to go to their employer and say I will not do this job until I understand the hazards, until you protect me. You use your rights under the Act as a worker. The right to refuse, the right to know about workplace hazards, and the right to participate in activities to prevent those hazards from occurring."

Walker adds that unorganized workers have the same rights and there are things they can do to protect themselves.

Cathy Walker,
CAW National Director of Health and Safety
"What you can do, the most important thing is get a union. But short of that you can call up the Ministry of Labour or the government inspection agency in your jurisdiction and ask for help. All of these calls are supposed to be kept confidential. A government inspector can come in and address your concerns without using your name. And in nearly every jurisdiction that confidentiality is protected and people should be using the government authorities to protect their health and safety."

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."


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