April 28 was a time to mourn for the dead and fight for the living as Council 4 marked the annual AFL-CIO Workers Memorial Day with a ceremony of remembrance at our Workers Memorial Monument in New Britain.
Executive Director Sal Luciano paid tribute to Council 4 members who have died on the job since last year's event:
“Anthony, Eddie, Iris and Jorge left this world doing what they loved, helping others,” Luciano said. “They served their communities up until their last moments. They kept our communities safe and attractive, and they taught our children the importance of reading and learning.”
During the ceremony, Dominic Forcella of Local 2836 (State University Organization of Administrative Faculty) presented Council 4 with a specially framed print of Ernest Withers' legendary photograph of striking Memphis sanitation workers holding their "I Am a Man" signs.
That strike was triggered in part by the death of two AFSCME sanitation workers who were crushed in the compacter of their truck. Their families received no benefits.
"On Workers Memorial Day, we should remember there is dignity in all work and that all life is precious," Forcella said.
Every April 28 the unions of the AFL-CIO take time out to remember who workers who died or suffered illness or injury on the job. Workers Memorial Day coincides with the passage of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Based on the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 26 workers were killed in Connecticut in 2013 ( the last full year for which statistics are available), and over 43,000 workers suffered illness or injury on the job.
The Connecticut AFL-CIO also held its annual ceremony on the North Steps of the State Capitol in Hartford, with participants marching to the Workers Memorial at Bushnell Park, where the names of Anthony Amato, Eddie Lee Love, Iris Maxwell and Jorge Soto were read out loud in tribute.
Scroll down to Additional Resources to read about the Hartford event.