The injured worker and labour communities have been mourning the passing recently of long-time activists to whom much is owed:
Last Monday in the Legislative Assembly France Gélinas (MPP Nickel Belt) rose to pay tribute to Jean Gagnon who “dedicated over 60 years of his life fighting for health and safety and compensation for his fellow sintering plant workers (at Inco Copper Cliff facility) and their families, all victims of an industrial disease (from nickel dust) that was only recognized because of his persistence and his determination…”
In “Mine Health, Safety Icons Mourned” the Sudbury Star (May 30) recorded the contributions to worker safety also of fellow northern Ontario miner Jim Hobbs, whose declining health following long-term exposure to aluminum dust as a job-required “protection” against silicosis triggered the McIntyre Powder project. Those at the Injured Workers’ Day rally recall his daughter Janice Martell’s moving plea to remember his name and their campaign.
Rolly Marentette was paid tribute in the Assembly May 30 by Essex MPP Taras Natyshak as “a humble giant of the labour community and a fierce advocate for injured workers in Windsor and Essex county…” In his community, CTV Windsor (see video) covered the special ceremony held there on Injured Workers Day to honour the “crusader” and his legacy
Also recently passed and deeply missed, Mike Seaward – “a wonderful guy who spent his life championing the underdog. He was a working class activist down to his very core…” (United Steelworkers Toronto Area Council)