AFL-CIO to memorialize those killed, injured on job

PORTLAND, OR -- Decades of struggle by workers and their unions have resulted in significant improvements in working conditions. Nonetheless, the toll of workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths remains enormous.

Millions of workers are killed or injured every year.

The unions of the AFL-CIO remember these workers on April 28 -- Workers Memorial Day.

The first Workers Memorial Day was observed in 1989. April 28 was designated because it is the anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the day of a similar remembrance in Canada.

Workers in over 100 cities hold rallies, conferences, memorial services, marches and work stoppages under the banner of "Mourn for the Dead, Fight for the Living."

The national Building and Construction Trades Department is calling for a moment of silence at 9 a.m. (in whatever time zone) by construction workers on the job, at the union hall, at home, on vacation or wherever they may be, said Pete McCall in Washington, D.C.

Several memorial events will take place in the Pacific Northwest this year.

The Oregon AFL-CIO is asking local unions to take a moment of silence to remember co-workers, friends and others who have been killed on the job. The state labor federation will try to get the Oregon Legislature to invoke a moment of silence on the House floor and have Governor John Kitzhaber sign a proclamation declaring April 28 Workers Memorial Day.

The Northwest Oregon Labor Council will read the names and hold a moment of silence at its April 28 meeting for the 54 workers -- as recognized by the Oregon-Occupational Safety and Health Administration -- who died on the job in 1996.

In Snohomish County, Washington, Workers Memorial Day will be commemorated by ceremonies at high noon in the Flag Plaza of the County Courthouse at the corner of Wall and Wetmore Streets in Everett. For more information, call the council at 206-259-7922.

The King County Labor Council and Washington Commission on Safety and Health will hold a memorial service at noon at the Seattle Labor Temple. Sponsors will read the names of more than 100 workers killed on the job last year and lay flowers at the foot of symbolic tombstones as names are read.

The Spokane Labor Council will hold a memorial ceremony Saturday, April 26, at noon at Mission Park.


April 18, 1997 issue

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