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LIUNA on Workers' Memorial Day

Washington, DC, April 28, 2015: On Workers’ Memorial Day, Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) General President Terry O’Sullivan made the following statement.


Today, the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) remembers and mourns all those working men and women who have lost their lives on the job. We also pray for, and keep in our thoughts, those workers who were seriously injured and/or exposed to deadly and toxic substances. Finally, we recommit to building a world in which every worker returns home healthy and safe at the end of every work day.


Construction is a particularly risky profession, taking the lives of thousands of men and women around the world every year. Sadly, over the last 10 years, more than 120 LIUNA members have been killed on construction work sites. LIUNA’s proud public sector members are no strangers to workplace fatalities, either. Two of LIUNA’s National Guard members perished with nine other brave Marines and National Guardsmen in a training accident just last month.


American and Canadian work places are much safer than they used to be, thanks to unions and workers who had the courage to stand together, demand protection from workplace hazards, and even walk off the job to ensure a safe and productive workplace. Government regulations that LIUNA, the labor movement, and other organizations fought to achieve have saved countless lives. Conscientious owners and employers who refuse to accept accidents and fatalities as a part of doing business have made a difference as well. But safety, like freedom, demands eternal vigilance, and when we let down our guard, even for just a moment, workers can be injured or killed.


As long as even one worker dies on the job, as long as even one family is called to the hospital or the morgue, and as long as even one child must watch a parent leave for work and never return, our work will not be done. As long as some contractors and employers continue to cut corners on safety, or leave workers unprotected from toxic and hazardous substances, we will continue to fight. And as long as anti-worker politicians continue to attack unions, destroy collective bargaining, and gut enforcement agencies, we will stand in their way. Because safe workplaces demand workers who are free to organize, who have a voice in the work place, and who can rely on swift and effective enforcement of health and safety laws.


On Workers’ Memorial Day 2015, let us remember all those we have lost at work, pray for their loved ones, and vow to do what we must to ensure that no worker will ever again lose their life trying to make a living for themselves and their families.