International Day of Mourning

Day of Mourning sculputure

More than twenty years ago, the Canadian Labour Congress declared April 28 a National Day of Mourning for workers who have been killed, suffer disease or are injured at work. Every year since, union members throughout the world mark the Day of Mourning to remember workers killed and injured on the job, the impact on their friends, colleagues and family members, and to recommit themselves to fighting every day for workplace safety.

In 2009, AUPE unveiled a memorial sculpture dedicated to AUPE members killed or injured on the job. The sculpture portrays AUPE members and family from each of the unions’ four sectors gathered solemnly in remembrance around a miner’s lantern – a key symbol of safety and hope in the International Day of Mourning.

Each year, a poem is read at the Day of Mourning gathering. The poem was written in the memory of Rolyn Sumlak, who died Oct. 9, 1990, by his friend and AUPE Local 012 colleague Dennis Mikalsen. On Apr. 28,1996, AUPE Health and Safety Specialist Dennis Malayko had the honour of reading this poem at the United Nations as part of a two-person labour delegation.

Someone by Dennis Mikalsen

Someone died the other day,
An accident is what they say
The boom went up and hit the line
The medics came but not in time

How could it happen we stare and say
We practice safety every day
We grieve with the family and do our best
To help each other through this test

Suddenly emerged from unseen forts
Inspectors chastise and make reports
Where were they before the day
A safety hazard took a life away

In a hurry running late
Do it now or it can wait
But the works important
Priority one, we can do it , if we run

Need more training, that's "OK"
But it can wait for another day
What? Staff unhappy all will be well
When we hear from personnel

Safety's important, it's not a game
That was the line before the budget came
Reduce your workload that's not what we meant
When we cut staff by ten percent

The more we do the more needs done
Building empires is really fun
Do your work and really care
The more you do the better I fare

The death of our brother was tragic and wrong
But he cared and our memories will be cherished and long
With his passing, our brother left something to do
The torch has been passed to me and to you

Leslie Pledger
Environment
1977
Warren Dunkley
Environment
1977
William Warren
Transportation
1977
Keith Stewart
Transportation
1977
Paul Ruppert
Municipal Affairs
1978
Calvin Bohmer
Energy/Natural Resources
1978
Paul Slater
Energy/Natural Resources
1978
Desmond Smith
Energy/Natural Resources
1978
Barry Young
Energy/Natural Resources
1978
Jim Taylor
Court Clerk
1978
Wilfred Rondeau
Transportation
1979
John Tally
Transportation
1980
Neal Janzen
Transportation
1980
John Tetz
Agriculture
1981
James Mason
Energy/Natural Resources
1981
Roger Oneski
Energy/Natural Resources
1981
Edward Bogden
Transportation
1982
AAJE Westergard
Transportation
1982
Rose Cahoon
Transportation
1983
Seldon Daney
Transportation
1984
Gordon Gresiuk
Energy/Natural Resources
1984
John MacNeil
Energy/Natural Resources
1984
Jim Graden
Municipal Affairs/Environment
1987
Brenda Chernoff
Social Services
1987
Donat Lalonde
Forestry, Lands
1988
Terry Flett
Transportation
1988
Mervin Hamelin
Transportation
1988
Bob Rose
Transportation
1988
Ron Smith
Transportation
1988
Joanne Pryce
Advanced Education
1989
Donald McMahon
Solicitor General
1989
Larry Madole
Solicitor General
1990
James Parker
Culture & Multiculturalism
1990
Nicole Royer
Transportation & Utilities
1990
Roland McDonald
Energy/Forestry, Lands & Wildlife
1990
Rolyn Sumlak
Agriculture
1990
Mike Mensforth
Environment
1990
Myrtle Johnston
Family & Social Services
1991
Loretta Sorrenson
Transportation
1991
Inette John
Mental Health
1991
Arthur Mikado
Agriculture
1991
Kevin Sheehan
Transportation
1992
Richard Delorme
City of Spruce Grove
1992
Allen Cooper
Transportation & Utilities
1993
Ray Boisson
Environmental Protection
1993
Edward Gregor
Environmental Protection
1994
Harro Van Bockel
Environmental Protection
1995
Doreen Bellerose
Advanced Education
1996
Daniel Brink
Environmental Protection
1997
Gordon Brown
Environmental Protection
1997
Leonard Nicholl
Environmental Protection
1998
Allan Polland
Environmental Protection
1998
Katheryn Robinson
Human Resources & Employment
1999
John Graham
Sustainable Resources Development
2001
Elsie George
Alberta Hospital - Ponoka
2001
Edmund LeBlanc
County of Strathcona
2002
Sylvia Vega
Alberta Treasury Branch
2003
Patrick Watters-Michaud
Local 005
2007
Ralph Helfrich
Local 003
2007
Joseph McKeown
Local 003
2008
Lance Gerhardt
Local 002
2008
Alan Pennington
Local 042
2009
Kristina Norstrom
Local 005
2013
Jeff Duncan
Local 003
2015