Vimy Ridge Day is an annual observance on April 9 to remember Canadians who victoriously fought in the battle of Vimy Ridge in northern France during the First World War. The day is also known as the National Day of Remembrance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Four Unifor members in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick passed away in less than a week, with at least three of the deaths work related and two due to COVID-19.
“This is just devastating. My first thoughts go to their families, who said goodbye to their loved ones in the morning, never to see them again,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.
“We must do all we can to prevent work-related deaths and injuries.”
Local 81 member Gérald Lévesque, 63, a cable repair technician with Bell Canada, was killed April 1 when he was electrocuted while performing his duties in Saint-Sauveur, Quebec. He lived in Sainte-Adèle and leaves his partner, Martine, and a son.
“One death at work is always one too many deaths. It should never happen, but unfortunately it happens too often,” said Quebec Director Renaud Gagné.
“The great Unifor family is in mourning today and our thoughts are with his family and colleagues on this sad day.”
Just four days later on April 5, Amarprit Sandhu, 44, a Local 4003/Council 4000 member working for CNTL, was involved in a motor vehicle accident and pronounced dead on the scene.
The incident occurred at a customer’s facility as Sandhu was preparing to return to CN’s Intermodal Terminal, only two minutes away. He leaves a wife and three daughters.
“This is truly such a tragic loss. All of us in the Brampton CNTL units have heavy hearts and his absence will be felt dearly,” said Satinder Singh, Local Chair for Local 4003.
That same day, Local 40 member Antonio Genova, 56, died from COVID-19. He worked as a service technician at Yorkdale Ford Lincoln.
A COVID-19 outbreak was declared March 16 by Toronto Public Health at the Toronto auto dealership with at least eight people infected, including Genova. He leaves a wife, Cristina Letargo, and three children.
“Our thoughts today are with Antonio’s family and his co-workers, who are struggling to come to terms with what has happened. Antonio’s death and the COVID-19 outbreak declared in his workplace underline the need to take this pandemic seriously,” said Local 40 President David Amow.
In New Brunswick, Unifor Local 94 member Luc Belanger passed away in hospital on April 6 while on a respirator, receiving treatment after contracting COVID-19.
Belanger, 38, worked at Boise All Joist in St-Jacques, New Brunswick, where about 20 workers are in isolation as a precautionary measure. Belanger leaves a wife and daughter.
“Losing someone so young is very difficult for all of us, and especially his family. We need to work collectively to get out communities through this devastating pandemic,” said Mario Theriault, the Unifor National Representative for the local.
Unifor will honour these members and all workers who have died on the job this year on April 28 on the National Day of Mourning.
On behalf of the Local 1996-O Equity Committee and Local 1996-O Executive, we wish all our Muslim Sisters and Brothers a blessed Ramadan.
Sourced: sourced photo here
April 1, 2021
TORONTO—Unifor is calling on all provinces to mandate paid time off to allow workers to get vaccinated when it is their turn to do so.
“While some good employers out there are already doing this, most are not and won’t unless government forces them to just do the right thing,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.
Provincial legislation is needed immediately to mandate paid time off for vaccination to ensure a timely rollout for all workers, similar to legislating time off to vote in elections, says Canada’s largest private sector union.
“We all know that vaccination is key to paving the way for the safe re-opening of businesses, and the economic recovery we are all waiting for. Employers who are advocating for lifting restrictions must also do their part and remove all barriers to workers to get the vaccine,” said Dias.
Dias and Unifor’s Regional Directors are writing all provincial premiers who have not legislated paid vaccine leave, calling for urgent action to mandate both vaccine leave and paid sick days, so workers who contract Covid-19 or who must quarantine can stay home without financial penalty.
“The social impact of the pandemic has disproportionately affected workers, exposing inequities across our society. We cannot stand by and allow the vaccine rollout to follow this dangerous precedent,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National Secretary – Treasurer and chair of Unifor’s Vaccine Working Group.
3/31/2021 -Sisters and Brothers,
Bargaining broke down on Tuesday, March 30th between your bargaining committee and Bell.
Despite the assistance of a federal conciliation officer, the company would not move on the priorities of members. Your union remains committed to reaching a fair collective agreement.
It is clear that progress will not be made until pressure on the employer increases.
Your union will now focus on the immediate need to resolve the essential services issue in front of the Canadian Industrial Relations Board.
Once that issue is resolved, we will organize strike votes in order to bring bargaining to a deadline where we believe meaningful change can take place. In the meantime we will continue to mobilize to build additional solidarity and weight behind your demands.
We thank you for your continued support during bargaining.
Your Bargaining Committee
3/26/2021 -Sisters and Brothers,
Your Bargaining Committee began conciliation with the company this week via Zoom. We reiterated that our priorities must be addressed if we are to reach an agreement and avoid a work stoppage. Conciliation will continue next week and we will put out the next bulletin, when there has been a tangible change in the bargaining process for us to report.
Thank you for your patience and support!
Your Bargaining Committee