'Do your best and hug your loved ones,' bus driver says as union remembers slain operator
Transit union held vigil for Irvine Jubal Fraser, killed on the job a year ago
Winnipeg's transit union held a brief memorial ceremony Wednesday morning to mark the one-year anniversary of the killing of Irvine Jubal Fraser.
The transit operator was stabbed on the job on Feb. 14, 2017, at the University of Manitoba's Fort Garry campus. His death led the City of Winnipeg to usher in a package of transit-safety improvements that include the testing of new bus shields, the expansion of on-board surveillance systems and $590,000 in annual funding for some form of on-board security presence.
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Fraser's family, no fewer than three city councillors and a handful Winnipeg Transit managers joined several dozen members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505 at a vigil at the Union Centre on Broadway.
"I hope the future we're building will be safer for employees, for passengers and for all the citizens of Winnipeg," Winnipeg Transit acting operations manager Randy Tonnellier said in a prepared statement.
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"One death on the job is one too many," said said John Callahan, the union's international vice-president. "One assault on the job is one too many. But I know working together, we can create a culture that can be safe for all bus operators and transit users."
Fraser's family did not speak at the vigil.
After the seven-minute ceremony, transit operator Christian Brambilla recalled a conversation he had with Fraser the day before his colleague died.
"It's tough, because I didn't realize that was the last time I'd get a chance to speak to him. I remember him smiling as I walked away. That's how I'd like to remember him," Brambilla told reporters.
"It's not always safe out there so try to just be careful. Do your best and hug your loved ones, 'cause you just never know what's gonna happen."