Unionists rallied in Surrey Wednesday (April 14) in a banner-waving show of support for dockworker Everett Andrew Cummings, killed while on the job at Fraser Surrey Docks in July 2018.
A father of three, the heavyduty mechanic was 44 when he was crushed beneath the cab of the lift truck he was servicing, according to a petition for a coroner’s inquest launched by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada (ILWU) on change.org.
Members of the union gathered outside Surrey provincial court for a hearing that involved employer DP World.
A judge decided to fine the company $200,000, according to ILWU-Canada president Rob Ashton.
The Dubai-based DP World recently acquired Fraser Surrey Docks from Macquarie Infrastructure Partners, in a deal announced in February 2020, more than two years after Cummings’ death.
The social-media post doesn’t mince words: “Today, Everett’s Employer is pleading guilty. But there is no dollar amount that can justify the murder of any worker on the job. The time for lip service is over. The time for action is now.”
Ashton said Cummings “was an extremely safety conscious and experienced heavyduty mechanic.”
Wednesday marked the second time in three weeks where members of the union have protested the death of a member “in a preventable dock accident,” according to Ashton, and the second time in three weeks “where a company has paid fines for their negligence.” The other death was of Don Jantz at Neptune Terminals, he noted.
Sent Tuesday (April 13), a news release from the union includes a statement from Cummings’ former wife, Desirae Knittle, to be read in court.
“We are the victims and we deserve something that resembles justice, something with significance,” Knittle stated. “Our lives, what has been taken from us, what we have endured and what we will continue to endure as a result of Everett’s death.
“We matter, we have to live through all of this and we deserve to feel justice in this outcome. My children, Everett’s children, sit before you today as you place an insignificant monetary value of their father’s life. Honestly, can you really look at them, and tell them this is justice?”
An obituary posted to dignitymemorial.com says Cummings “was a dedicated union member and was representatives of both the ILWU Local 502 and the IUOE Local 115. Everett was a loyal advocate for safety and fairness for all employees in the workplace.” The obituary includes a 30-minute tribute video.