Statement from the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour on Davis Day

June 10, 2024

June 11th, known as Davis Day, holds a profound significance for workers across Nova Scotia, particularly within our mining communities. Named in memory of William Davis, a coal miner who lost his life during a strike in 1925, Davis Day is a solemn reminder of the sacrifices made by those who fought tirelessly for the rights and safety of workers. 

The Nova Scotia Federation of Labour calls upon all community members to participate in events honouring this day, to remember William Davis, and to reflect on the ongoing struggle for workers’ rights. William Davis was a miner in New Waterford, Cape Breton. In the early 20th century, coal mining was a dangerous occupation, plagued by poor working conditions, low wages, and the ever-present threat of fatal accidents. 

On June 11, 1925, during a strike against the British Empire Steel Corporation (BESCO), Davis was part of a group of miners who marched to demand better treatment and safer working conditions. Tragically, he was shot and killed by company police, making him a martyr for the labour movement in Nova Scotia.

Davis Day is more than just a historical commemoration; it is a day to acknowledge the enduring spirit of solidarity and resilience among workers. William Davis’s sacrifice underscores the importance of protecting against exploitation and advocating for safe, fair, and dignified working conditions. His legacy is a testament to the power of collective action and unions’ critical role in protecting workers’ rights.

Attending Davis Day events in your community is a powerful way to honour William Davis and all those who have fought for workers’ rights. These events remind us that the struggles of the past continue to influence and inspire the present. By coming together, we pay tribute to the sacrifices made by previous generations and reinforce our commitment to advancing the cause of labour.

Moreover, Davis Day is an opportunity to educate younger generations about the history of the labour movement and the importance of solidarity. It is a chance to pass on the stories of courage and resilience, ensuring that the legacy of William Davis and others like him endures.

The Nova Scotia Federation of Labour urges everyone to participate in Davis Day events within their communities. Let us remember William Davis as a symbol of sacrifice and a catalyst for positive change. By honouring his memory, we reaffirm our dedication to the ongoing struggle for justice, equality, and the protection of workers’ rights. Together, we can continue to build a future where the sacrifices of the past are not forgotten, and workers’ rights are upheld and respected.

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