Sunday, April 28, 2013

April 28 - Workers Memorial Day

Worker's Memorial Day (also known as "Day of Mourning") is an annual, international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured, or made unwell by their work.

In 1984, Worker's Memorial Day was started by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, becoming an annual day of remembrance on April 28, 1985, the anniversary of the comprehensive Workers Compensation Act, passed in 1914. The event became an official Worker's Mourning Day in 1991, when the Canadian Parliament passed an Act respecting a National Day of Mourning for persons killed or injured in the workplace.

Statistics gathered by the International Labour Organisation tell us:
- Each year, more than 2 million women and men die as a result of work-related accidents and diseases
- Workers suffer approximately 270 million accidents each year, and fall victim to about 160 million incidents of related illnesses
- Hazardous substances kill 440 000 workers annually - asbestos claiming 100 000 lives
- 1 worker dies ever 15 seconds worldwide. 6000 workers die every day. More people die while at work than those fighting wars. 
Worker's Memorial Day serves to highly the preventable nature of most workplace accidents and ill health, as well to promote campaigns and union organization in the fight for improvements in workplace safety.

Though April 28th is the focal point of remembrance - a day of international solidarity - campaigning and other related activities continue throughout the year all around the world.

Today is also Biological Clock Day, Lag B'omer, National Pet Parent's Day, and Mother Father Deaf Day.

Here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history:

- At the Battle of Ste-Foy in 1760, the British were defeated by the French but were able to hold Québec.
- The Rush-Bagot Agreement between the US and Britain in 1817 limited naval forces on Lake Champlain and Lake Ontario.
- The CPR steamer Empress of India first arrived in Vancouver in 1891, carrying 486 passengers and 1839 tons of tea, silk, and rice. This steamer continued to make regular trips around the world by way of the Suez Canal.
- W.H. Carrier patented the air conditioner in 1914.
- Zbigniew Basinski, recognized as the doyen of Canadian metal physics, was born in Wolkowysk, Poland in 1928.
- Singer Ginette Reno was born in Montreal in 1946.
- Former Philippine First Lady Aurora Quezon was assassinated while en route to dedicate a hospital in memory of her late husband in 1949; her daughter and 10 others are also killed.
- Muhammad Ali refused induction into the army, and was stripped of his boxing title in 1967.
- Samuel Lee Gravely Jr. became the 1st black admiral in the US Navy in 1971.
- Over 6000 Mk. 82 500 pound bombs detonated over the course of 18 hours in a railyard in northern California in 1973. 5500 structures were damaged, and the town of Antelope, California ceased to exist, with every building being reduced to the foundation. This accident led to the passing of the Transportation Safety Act of 1974, which made the NTSB an independent agency.
- Aloha Airlines Boeing 737 roof tore off in flight in 1988, killing an unsecured stewardess.
- Iran protested the sale of "Satanic Verses" by Salman Rushdie (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) in 1989.
- A 14-year-old boy armed with a .22 calibre rifle shot and killed 2 students at W.R. Myers High School in Taber, Alberta in 1999. The killings followed by 8 days the Colorado massacre.
- The first Northrop Frye Literary Festival opened at the esteemed literary critic's hometown of Moncton, New Brunswick in 2000. Forty authors gave readings.
- Millionaire Dennis Tito became the world's first space tourist in 2001.

Stay tuned for our next, "On This Day in History"!

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