On October 18th, Niagara Regional Labour Council (NRLC) and local Union representatives presented a cheque for $25,000 to the Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial Task Force Chair (St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik) and Campaign Chair (Greg Wight). The Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial will be unveiled in 2017 near Lock 3 of the Welland Canal.
The fourth Welland Canal, built between 1913 and 1932, resulted in the death of 137 workers. In 1932, the Government of Canada promised to establish a memorial to honour the men whose lives were lost during the construction of the fourth Welland Canal – it will take 85 years for that promise to be fulfilled.
The deaths were devastating for family members, local communities, and communities in places as far away as Italy and Poland, as there was a significant number of immigrants who helped build the Welland Canal.
In the photo:
Front Row (Left):
Lara Lorge, Steward for CUPE 1757; Mohammad Nazir, Unifor 199 and NRLC Executive Committee Member; Lou Ann Binning, President of the NRLC and President of CUPW 614; St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik, Task Force Chair of the WCFWM; Greg Wight, Campaign Chair of the WCFWM; Kara Emberson, on behalf of MP Vance Badawey; Susan Erskine-Fournier, Unifor 199 and NRLC Recording Secretary; Mark Roy, Vice-President (V.P.) of Unifor 199.
Back Row (Left):
Shane Jenkins, President of CUPE 1295; Bruce Allen, Past President of Unifor 199 and V.P. of Niagara North for the NRLC; Sheri Laekeman, Past President of Unifor 4212 and WCFWM Task Force Member; Daniel Peat, Past President of OSSTF D22 and Past President of the NRLC; Bruce Timms, Regional Councillor and WCFWM Task Force Member; Brian Hodgkins, Health and Safety Coordinator for CUPE 1287; Chris Grawey, CUPE 4207, V.P. of Niagara South for the NRLC, and WCFWM Task Force Member.
Thanks to the 27 Union Locals in Niagara that contributed to the NRLC’s $25,000 donation:
ATU 1602, BUFA, COPE 343, CUPE 150, CUPE 157, CUPE 1263, CUPE 1287, CUPE 1295, CUPE 1757, CUPE 2977, CUPE 4156, CUPE 4207, CUPW 614, CUPW 628, IBEW 636, ETFO Niagara, ETFO Niagara - Occasional Teachers, OPSEU 212, OPSEU 215, OPSEU 242, OSSTF District 22, OSSTF District 35, Teamsters 879, UFCW 1000A, Unifor 199, Unifor 4401, and USW 6428.
See Press Release here.
See Press Release here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Niagara Regional Labour Council makes $25,000 donation to honour fallen workers
Oct. 21, 2016 – The Niagara Regional Labour Council, representing workers from across the Niagara region have donated $25,000 to the Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial Task Force to help honour and remember 137 men who died building the fourth Welland Canal.
Task force chair, Mayor Walter Sendzik and campaign chair Greg Wight thanked the Labour Council for the generous donation and commitment to the memorial project at a special cheque presentation on Oct. 18.
“On behalf of the Task Force, thank you to the Niagara Regional Labour Council for this generous contribution towards the memorial. The Welland Canal was built at a time when labour laws and protections were much different than they are today. Much of that progress is due to the work of the labour movement to improve the lives and working conditions for workers all across the country,” stated Mayor Sendzik. “We are fortunate to have the support of the Niagara Regional Labour Council not only for this project to properly honour the fallen workers, but every day on behalf of local workers in our community.”
The Niagara Regional Labour Council (NRLC) represents unionized workers across Niagara. Under the umbrella of the Canadian Labour Congress, the NRLC promotes social justice, human rights, fair labour laws, safe workplaces and is an advocate for issues affecting all workers across Niagara. The donation to the memorial was presented on behalf of 27 different Niagara locals.
Representatives of the NRLC commented on their work and the importance of the memorial. “While the building of the canal was a huge mechanical achievement in its time, it also came at a huge personal cost to many of the workers who helped build it, as well as their families,” said Lou Ann Binning, President of the NRLC and CUPW 614. “The health and safety laws that we all have today are the fruits of those men and women who came many years before, and from their pain today we have laws that attempt to make our workplaces safer. We are happy to present this donation of $25,000 to the Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial Task Force on behalf of the Unions across Niagara and their over 14,000 workers represented by the Niagara Regional Labour Council.”
"The men whom this memorial will recognize lost their lives working on a project which brought prosperity to our lives. The Niagara Regional Labour Council thought it was important to help publically acknowledge the debt we owe to those men and the families they left behind," said Daniel Peat, Past President of OSSTF D22 and Past President of the NRLC.
Campaign chair, Greg Wight thanked the NRLC members. “This donation from the Niagara Regional Labour Council helps to remind us what this project is really about – the people who built the canal and properly remembering and honouring their contributions and sacrifices made for our community and our country in building the Welland Canal,” said campaign chair, Greg Wight.
The current fundraising goal for the memorial and parkette is approximately $1 million. The project is being funded in part by the Department of Canadian Heritage through a $150,000 grant. Companies and organizations related to the marine industry have contributed close to $400,000 towards the memorial. The Task Force is continuing to seek support from the marine and business community, community partners, the labour community and members of the public. Once fundraising is complete, the memorial will be built in 2017. For more information or to make a donation please visit www.stcatharines.ca/CanalWorkersMemorial.
About the Task Force
The Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial Task Force is a volunteer group established to finance, design, build and install a memorial to recognize workers who died while building the Welland Ship Canal between 1914 and 1932. Members of the Task Force include representatives from all Welland Canal communities, Niagara Regional Council, the federal government, the marine industry, local historians, the labour community, and community partners from the Canadian Canal Society, the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre and the Welland Canals Foundation. Administrative and project support is provided by the City of St. Catharines.
Greg Wight, Fundraising Chair
Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial Task Force
Vice President of Niagara South, Niagara Regional Labour Council and CUPE 4207