April 28 marked Workers Memorial Day, a time for union members and community allies to mourn the dead and injured and continue the struggle for good jobs that are safe and healthy for all workers.
Council 4 members and staff gathered for a brief but solemn ceremony in front of our Workers Memorial Monument in New Britain, where the names of our members who died on the job are etched in stone.
We honored the memory of Nick Yetishefsky of AFSCME Local 1026, a Metropolitan District Commission employee who passed away last October. Nick's wife Meg, sister-in-law Beth and mother-in-law Betty Kuehnel, a retired Council 4 Staff Representative, joined us for this special ceremony.
"I wish we didn't have to gather for these ceremonies," said ConnectiCOSH Executive Director Michael Fitts, who noted that 14 workers die on the job every day. "Any number [of workplace fatalities] higher than zero is unacceptable."
Fitts reminded us to hold our elected officials accountable when it comes to funding programs that affect safety and training.
This year marked the 40th anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Act as well as the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York City.
"Their screams echo through the decades and pierce our ears this morning," said Council 4 Executive Director Sal Luciano, referring to the 146 workers who died when trapped behind doors locked by their employer.
In addition to the Council 4 event, Workers Memorial Day ceremonies took place at Bushhell Park in Hartford, where the Connecticut AFL-CIO has a permanent memorial; at Washington in Park in Groton, were there is a memorial walkway and benches; and in Bridgeport, where building trades union members led a remembrance on the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the L'Ambiance Hotel Plaza.