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A stunning new monument in memory of workers who have been killed or injured on the job was unveiled on April 28th at the W. Franklin Hatheway Labour Exhibit Centre in Saint John, New Brunswick. Nearly 300 dignitaries and union representatives were on hand to dedicate the memorial on the date that marks the country’s National Day of Mourning in remembrance of those workers.
The involvement of Local 8 New Brunswick members was integral to the completion of the project. Members Armelino Rocca, Joe Mattina and Tom Tracey installed the circular brick base of the monument. Brother Tracey also served on the monument committee, for which he will he honoured with the Saint John Merit Award for outstanding contribution to the greater Saint John community on July 26th.
A granite block near the main sculpture features an etched passage that provides insight into the design of the memorial. Atop the central brick foundation, four figures lift a beam, signifying the importance of strength in unity and working together. Two of the figures are ghost-like, symbolizing those who have died on the job. A woman standing on a crate brings attention to unsafe working conditions. A man lifting a pole embodies the extraordinary physical labor that went into the building of Saint John. The beam itself, a working sundial, suggests the passage of time, often the only antidote to the pain of profound loss.
Local 8 NB President Gerald Reinders said, “We take great pride in the fact that in 1990, Canada was the first country to formally recognize a workers memorial day, and since that time, more than 80 countries have followed suit. Local 8 is equally proud to have had a role in the building of this monument, which not only reminds us of our fallen brothers and sisters, but which also motivates us to work even harder to improve health and safety conditions for all workers.”