Every year, on April 28, we stop and reflect for the National Day of Mourning. It takes on a new meaning this year as workers on the front-lines who provide public services put their health and lives on the line due to the unprecedented threat of COVID-19. As we know, most of the victims are seniors – people who were once workers in this province. On this Day of Mourning, we celebrate the work and lives of these workers, and all they have given for all of us. We shall not forget their contributions.
Since 1991, the National Day of Mourning has been a day to remember and honour those lives lost or injured in work-related safety incidents. It’s a chance to renew our commitment to preventing further injuries, illnesses and deaths. With each worker who has been affected, we also think of their family members and loved ones whose lives are significantly changed – who are also made to suffer the consequences of these incidents.
We are working hard to push aside many obstacles to ensure front-line workers have proper safety equipment to perform the essential work of keeping our public services running and keeping us safe during the COVID-19 crisis, but there is still much left to do. Success in the workplace translates to safety in our communities. Asymptomatic transmission has taught us that.
Ensuring safe working conditions in all of our members’ workplaces has been at the forefront of OPSEU’s fight for decades. Every worker’s life is valuable; every worker deserves to have safe working conditions in place for them so that they can return home to their loved ones at the end of the day.
As this pandemic progresses, we commit to continuing the fight to protect our frontline essential workers. And we remember those workers, living out their last days in Long-Term Care facilities, who succumbed to this virus. OPSEU pays tribute to you on this very important day.
Their safety and your safety is of the utmost importance to us. We are immensely grateful to you, for all you have done and continue to do for this province.
OPSEU stands with the workers of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, First Vice-President/Treasurer