International Day of Mourning- April 28

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.

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 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