May 19, 2020

Due to COVID-19, the Saskatoon & District Labour Council will not be hosting their traditional ceremony of remembrance, candle lighting observance and commemorative wreath laying. To honour and recognize the 36 Saskatchewan workers who died in 2019 because of their work, we have shared this virtual remembrance “Day of Mourning Vigil- reading the names of workers in Saskatchewan who died”.

Though we can’t hold in-person gatherings this year, the enduring message of Day of Mourning – to mourn for the dead and fight for the living – is more important than ever. The global COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we live and work. While everyone is affected by the crisis, workers are on the front line. Many are doing critical work without the protections they need to keep themselves safe.

Many workers have been deemed essential and go to work every day so that others can stay home as we all do everything we can to stop the pandemic. We owe it to all workers to make sure they have the protections and supports to work safely. COVID-19 doesn’t mean we weaken those rights – it means we strengthen them. Workers know that if we wait until the science is certain before implementing protections, many workers will pay the price. That’s why unions fight for the precautionary principle, which maintains that the absence of scientific certainty should not prevent prudent actions that may reduce risk.

As the world has faced this new and unknown contagion called COVID-19, governments and employers should be outfitting workers with all available protections, until the source of transmission is determined – not the other way around

  • That means ensuring that front-line workers have the protective equipment they need, and the training to use it safely.
  • That means ensuring that all workers, including precarious and vulnerable workers, have access to job protections, adequate paid sick days and income supports to protect them through this crisis.
  • That means we need to defend our basic rights at work that are protected in health and safety statutes in every jurisdiction in Canada. Those three basic rights are:
    • Right to know
    • Right to participate
    • Right to refuse work

An injury to one…….is an injury to all

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