On April 28, 2018, CWA and the U.S. labor movement will once again celebrate and observe Workers’ Memorial Day. This year, the theme for Workers’ Memorial Day is “Working for Safe Jobs.”
Participation in Workers’ Memorial Day - 2018 will be of particular significance to CWA as we work to ensure that the Trump administration does not further erode occupational and environmental safety and health laws and regulations. Already, the Trump administration‘s assault on workers’ has included the:
Withdrawal of OSHA policy allowing workers to designate walk-around representatives to participate in OSHA inspections in non-union workplaces.
Elimination of work to create general industry standards on workplace violence, infectious diseases, and emergency preparedness.
Delay of OSHA’s new beryllium standard.
Delay with intention of revoking the reporting provisions of the OSHA workplace injury and illness rules.
Establishment of a requirement that every new regulatory workplace and environmental protection must include the repeal of two existing safeguards (CWA has joined with Public Citizen and the National Resources Defense Council to overturn this decision.)
Proposal of a 21 percent cut in the Department of Labor’s budget which would eliminate worker safety and health training programs, and the Chemical Safety Board.
Since April 28, 2017, CWA lost six members to workplace fatalities. This year, we mourn the deaths of:
Ashley Newberry, 34 years of age, a member of CWA Local 3808 employed as a Direct TV On February 7, 2017, while driving the assigned company vehicle, he lost control and crashed head-on into an oncoming vehicle - (Nashville, Tennessee).
Belinda-Teran Dandridge, 65 years of age, a member of CWA Local 9509 employed as a Customer Service Representative by AT&T. While performing her normal work operations on June 7, 2017, she experienced an upper respiratory attack and severe distress (possibly related to asthma). She was not provided emergency medical care in a timely manner and died - (San Diego, California).
David Dufour, 47 years of age, a member of CWA Local 4100 employed as a TFS Technician by AT&T. On September 7, 2017, while performing residential telecommunications installation and service work, David suffered a life-ending heart attack - (Detroit, Michigan).
Matt Newman, 62 years of age, a member of CWA Local 6215 employed as a Customer Service Technician by AT&T. On October 5, 2017 Matt passed away from medical complications related to a fall from a vehicle platform bucket, resulting in hip replacement surgery, and the occurrence of a blood clot leading to cardiac arrest during the recovery process - (Dallas, Texas).
Frank Hernandez, 32 years of age, a member of CWA Local 9423 employed as an Outside Plant Technician by AT&T. On January 9, 2018, he passed away as a result of injuries sustained in a devastating vehicular accident - (San Jose, California).
Terry Dwayne Higdon, 61 years of age, a member of CWA Local 3804 employed as a Machine Operator for Bell South Utility Operations. On January 25, 2018, while performing buried service telecommunication work he was caught in the trenching equipment and killed. Terry’s death would have been prevented if the company had assigned two people to perform the work, as recommended by the equipment manufacturer.
In addition, many more of our members have suffered work-related injuries, illnesses, and “near misses.”
As we remember those who have been killed on the job, we will also renew our fight for strong workplace safety and health protections. We must work to ensure employers are providing our members with safe and healthful working conditions. I urge you to get involved on April 28th and organize actions to highlight the toll of work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. Workers’ Memorial Day materials are available from the AFL-CIO at: www.aflcio.org\WorkersMemorialDay.
While organizing your local’s activities, please reach out to our allies in the labor, worker center, environmental, environmental justice, and civil right communities encouraging their involvement in Workers’ Memorial Day.
Please contact David LeGrande, Director of our Occupational Safety and Health Department, if we can assist you in planning an event. As you conduct activities, please complete and return the attached “Report on 2018 Workers’ Memorial Day Events” so we can publicize and report actions on the web.