Union ceremony remembers workers who died on the job

In a ceremony at the April 24 meeting of the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, union members hold flags representing the 66 workers killed on the job in Oregon in 2016.

Workers Memorial Day ceremony took place April 24 at the monthly meeting of the Northwest Oregon Labor Council.

In attendance was Michelle Parr, whose son, Michael Casey Holland was killed on the job.  The 27-year-old construction worker and former Marine died May 5, 2016, when an improperly shored 11-foot-deep trench collapsed while he and a work crew were installing a sewage line at a home in Southwest Portland. Following an investigation, the Oregon-Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined Holland’s employer, TC Excavating of Portland, $142,800 for five violations, including two “willful” violations. 

“There is absolutely no good reason for an employer to disregard clear and time-tested excavation rules that protect workers from such tragedies,” said Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood in a November press release announcing the fines. “This is a time to pause and remember that a young man died, leaving behind family and friends and co-workers. And it is a time to remind ourselves that this was not some sort of ‘freak accident.’ It was predictable and it was preventable.” 

Wood was the featured speaker at the Labor Council’s service.

Parr, a member of Portland Community College Local 2277, was comforted by colleague Jaime Rodriguez, also of Local 2277.

Similar Workers Memorial Day ceremonies were held throughout the country the week of April 24-28. The Oregon AFL-CIO held a noon time ceremony at the Fallen Workers Memorial in Salem. The Washington State Labor Council took part in an observance April 27 at the Department of Labor & Industries’ building in Tumwater. Seventy-nine workers died on the job in Washington in 2016.

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