PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s called Workers’ Memorial Day, and on Tuesday morning a crowd assembled to commemorate the lives of those who have lost their lives on the job.
“We gather today as always with the words of Mother Jones committed in our hearts — “Mourn for the dead and fight like hell for the living,’” recalled Dr. Charles McCollester, retired IUP labor professor.
McCollester emceed the event, recalling “The first Workers Memorial Day that I emceed had 35 workers killed that year. This year we commemorate nine, still too many.”
Organized by the Allegheny County Labor Council and many labor unions, the event acknowledged nine local workers who passed away since the last memorial day.
Nationally, says Allegheny County Labor Council president Jack Shea, the numbers are not good.
“Every day 150 workers die on the job either from an injury or an illness,” said Shea.
Maintaining a good safety record on the work site requires hard work, especially during a construction boom.
“With all the building construction being done in Pittsburgh, we can all be proud of the labor management efforts to ensure worker safety,” added McCollester.
While unions hail their special role in focusing on worker safety, it requires a partnership among management, unions, and workers to meet the goal of zero injuries and zero fatalities.
“We expect them at the end of their shift or the end of their day at work to go home and have dinner with their family,” noted Shea.