Day of Mourning Ceremony celebrates Activists of the Year

“Very pleased and honoured” is how Grey Bruce Labour Council President, Kevin Smith, feels towards the upcoming day to celebrate the Grey Bruce Labour Council Activists of the year in Labour and Health and Safety.

April 25th will see a full day of activities in Kincardine and Tara. Describing the day, Smith notes “that our amazing allies at Local 2222, United Brotherhood of Carpenters, will host three of the events of the day. The day will start off with a networking breakfast at the Local 2222 Hall in Kincardine (385 Queen Street), followed by Shoreline hosting a tour of the Kincardine Bruce Power facility. Returning to the Carpenter’s Hall after the tour, a solemn Day of Mourning ceremony for workers killed, injured or made sick in the workplace will be held at 2:15PM outside of the Local 2222 Hall. Continuing their awesome support for the community and the Labour Council, Local 2222 will host a light lunch preceding the ceremony. The Royal Canadian Legion in Tara will hold the dinner and gala celebration of the activists in the evening”.

Representing over three-million Canadian workers, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) will be represented throughout the day by CLC Executive Vice-President, Larry Rousseau. Dave Trumble, Labour Council VP for Bruce County, describes the history of our Activist Day attracting some of the most influential leaders in the Labour Movement in recent years. “Due to the pandemic the last two years have been virtual events, but in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 provincial labour leaders Smokey Thomas (President OPSEU), Chris Buckley (President OFL), Karen Bertrand (ONA VP Region 5), and Scott Travers (President SUP) all attended as guests of honour. Larry Rousseau continues this grand tradition”.

Speaking on the Day of Mourning ceremony taking place at 2:15 PM at the Carpenter’s Hall, Grey Bruce Labour Council VP for Grey County, Chris Stephen, notes that all people from the community are welcome to take some time to remember workers killed, injured and made sick as a result of the workplace. Stephen noted that “There will be some comments and a minute of silence as we remember the hundreds of workers killed across Canada each year along with the thousands injured and made sick.”

The celebration of activists in our region has been seminal to the Labour Council calendar for nearly thirty years. In that time unions and their members have been celebrated for extraordinary activism. Union members from OSSTF, ETFO, UFCW, PWU, SUP, Unifor, OECTA, IAM, USW, OPSEU, CUPE, and staff from such entities such as the Bruce Grey United Way have all been recognized. Kevin Smith says, “that Grey and Bruce is profoundly fortunate to have within its borders a healthy labour movement and intrinsic to that health, activists putting in the endless hours of work to protect the rights of all workers”.

The Grey Bruce Labour Council is fortunate to have support from so many in our region and as we gather, whether for the celebration of activism or the solemnity of Day of Mourning ceremony, the voice of workers rings out loud and clear. Congratulations to Linda Dow-Sitch as Health and Safety Activist of the year and Chris Stephen as Labour Activist of the year.