April 28th is National Day of Mourning in more than 100 countries around the world. Working people throughout the world mourn for the people who were hurt or killed on the job, and renew our struggle for safe workplaces. Each year, millions of workers are injured – including workers in the entertainment industry—working busy, highly-demanding jobs, sometimes in dangerous environments. During this pandemic, worker safety and security at work are imperiled as never before.
In Montreal, the City Hall, the Jacques-Cartier Bridge and the Montreal Tower (the Olympic Stadium mast) will be illuminated in canary yellow to pay tribute to them. Did you know that the canary was used as a toxic gas detector in the coal mines of the past. When the bird suffocated, the miners knew they had to get to the surface quickly.
The best way to ensure that workplaces are safe is to make sure workers have the freedom to join together in a union. Amongst many other things, unions have fought for and won: overtime benefits, holiday pay, and increased safety standards. We still have a lot of fighting to do to make workplaces safer and to ensure that even stronger standards are issued, and enforced, to protect workers; especially now.
This year we especially honor those killed by the COVID-19 Virus, both in the ranks of the IATSE and among the healthcare professionals and essential workers who seek to help us.
And on this day, we commit with renewed energy to work together to fight the assault on workers’ rights to bargain for fairer workplaces, safer workplaces, a better life and a brighter future.
IATSE members are asked to observe a moment of silence at 1:00 pm EDT. Click here if you want to participate to the Facebook event.
The IATSE 514 team