April 28 is the National Day of Mourning, a time when Canadians across the country remember workers who have been killed, disabled, injured, or made ill on the job. The Day of Mourning is also a time for action, and this year’s focus is the global COVID-19 pandemic.
While everyone is being affected by this international health crisis, workers on the front lines are especially at risk of contracting COVID-19, and some have even lost their lives to the virus. Health care workers are risking their lives by taking care of those affected by the coronavirus, and food retail and processing workers – including those working in the beef, poultry, and pork processing industries – are calling for extra precautions to protect their health and safety as they work hard to keep Canadians and their families fed.
Workers in long-term care facilities, meanwhile, are trying to save lives as they take care of our most vulnerable citizens, and Canadians in the beverage, transportation, maintenance, security, and other essential sectors are also performing vital work each and every day to help keep the economy going in this time of crisis.
This year’s National Day of Mourning is an opportunity to stand in support of these courageous workers and all that they do, while also remembering the people who have died or become sick or injured on the job.
But the Day of Mourning is also a time to act. That is why UFCW Canada, together with our allies in the international labour movement, is calling on employers to protect the front line and #StopThePandemicAtWork by ensuring that workers are protected on the job, by instituting appropriate physical distancing measures at work, and by providing premium pay to employees who have to work through the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are also calling on governments across Canada to respond to workers’ urgent needs by providing economic stimulus that saves lives and jobs, guaranteeing paid sick leave, income supports, and employment protections for all workers, and ensuring that occupational health and safety is a fundamental right.
This National Day of Mourning, you can help remember the dead and fight for the living by supporting the campaign to #StopThePandemicAtWork. Support this day of action by sharing the downloadable resource on this page on social media using the hashtags #StopThePandemicAtWork and #DayOfMourning. Activists can also download and share UFCW Canada’s official poster for the National Day of Mourning, April 28, by clicking here.