Unifor marks 40th anniversary of Mine Mill tragedy

Main Image
3 people in a outdoor picture

Unifor representatives attended the 40th anniversary memorial of the tragedy at the Falconbridge mine in Sudbury, Ontario and presented Mine Mill Local 598 with a special award to honour their commitment to health and safety.

For 40 years, Local 598 has been marking the mining disaster that took four lives and changed their community forever. The Annual Workers Memorial Day predates the National Day of Mourning and is a symbol of Local 598’s dedication to community awareness of workplace safety and offers a reminder to recommit to upholding the right of every worker to return home safe and well at the end of their workday.

“The members of Local 598, for generations now, have been models for how we should all make health and safety a top priority and an embedded and unforgettable piece of our workplace and community culture,” said Payne. “In the face of tragedy, we are often pushed to take action, and these members save lives by building safer workplaces and teaching union and non-union workers alike of their right to that safety.”

Ontario Regional Council Chair Shinade Allder attended and spoke with members and their families.

“I was honoured to attend this memorial and meet the members of Local 598 who have built and reinforced an incredible safety culture here in Sudbury,” said Allder. “We have a lot of work to do in workplaces across Canada to educate new workers, including newcomers to Canada, about their rights in the workplace and the responsibilities owed to them by employers. Every worker deserves a safety-minded community like this one.”

Local 598 assembled a memorial committee to mark this milestone year, who led a project to install an engraved monument surrounded by granite benches, gardens and a walking path. The benches carry the names of members who lost their life to a workplace tragedy.

“Walking through this memorial garden is moving and brought tears to my eyes – it’s both a beautiful tribute to the friends and colleagues lost, and a quiet place to reflect on the work we do as health and safety activists,” said Joanne Hay, Unifor Director of Health, Safety and Environment. “Safety activism is a daily uphill battle that is best done as a team, and Local 598 does that with a sense of duty and a whole lot of heart.”

Hay presented a special award to Local 598 on behalf of Unifor National President Lana Payne, National Secretary-Treasurer Len Poirier, Quebec Director Daniel Cloutier and the union’s Health, Safety and Environment Department.


Media Contact

Shelley Amyotte

National Communications Representative - Atlantic Region