Boilermakers support Canadian workers’ memorial

Martine Allain, Julie Allain, and Josee Allain, daughters of L-73 member Omer Allain, lay a wreath in remembrance of their father.

Daughters of deceased L-73 member lay wreath at Saint John, NB, monument

THE FORMAL DEDICATION and unveiling of a new monument to commemorate Canadian workers who have been killed or injured on the job took place on April 28th at Rockwood Park in Saint John, New Brunswick. The unveiling was part of a “day of mourning” ceremony in which more than 30 wreaths were laid at the foot of the monument by family members and union representatives.

Boilermaker involvement was integral to the project. Retired IVP Sandy MacDonald served on the Hatheway Trust April 28th Monument Committee, which spearheaded fundraising efforts for the monument. The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers in the Eastern and Western IVP Sections of Canada was among the platinum donors, contributing over $10,000 to the project. Other organizations contributing at that level included the New Brunswick Provincial Trades Council, the Laborers’ International Union of North America, and the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

The monument, designed by local artists Fred Harrison and Daryn Buyers, depicts four figures holding up a heavy beam, to demonstrate the accomplishment of working together. The beam also serves as a sundial to mark the passage of time, in commemoration of those workers who have died on the job.

Speakers at the event included Pat Riley, master of ceremonies; George Vair, chairman of the monument committee; Bob Blakely, director of Canadian Affairs for the Canadian Building Trades, AFL-CIO; and Mayor Ivan Court (City of Saint John). Each speaker gave a moving address to the families of deceased and injured workers and the many supporters of the memorial effort. Among those laying wreaths at the foot of the monument were the three daughters of Omer Allain, a Local 73 member who was killed in a workplace accident in 2008. IVP Ed Power (Eastern Canada) also attended the ceremony, laying a wreath on behalf of all Canadian Boilermakers who have been killed or injured in the workplace.