|Machinists Union International President Tom Buffenbarger speaks at the annual IAM Workers’ Memorial service for friends and family of IAM members who perished from workplace illness or injuries.|
Families, friends and fellow IAM members gathered at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center as part of a national observance of Workers’ Memorial Day to honor the memory of those who perished on the job or from work-related diseases.
The IAM honors its fallen brothers and sisters each year by inscribing their names on bricks that are placed at the memorial. Among this year’s list of inscribed bricks were: Sid Zimmermann of Local 1564, who died from an accidental fall from a ladder; Kenneth Crump of Local W246, who suffered a heart attack on the job; Steve Manwill of Local W246, who died from injuries sustained in a truck accident; Jerry Culuerhouse of Local 2003, who died in a helicopter crash; John Jefferies, District Lodge 4 Vice President, who died of natural causes; and Eduardo Tlatempa of Local 1759, who fell off a baggage loader lifter at Dulles Airport.
“The IAM remembers its fallen members today,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “Like us, these brothers and sisters got up every morning, got dressed and headed off to work so that they may be able to provide for themselves and their families. Sadly one day these members did not return home. They are the reason we continue to fight. We fight so that not one more person will have to endure the pain and grief of losing a loved one on the job.”
This year marks the 40th anniversary of OSHA and the right of workers to a safe job. With help from OSHA, unions have made great progress in making workplaces safer and protecting workers. But this progress didn’t just happen overnight. It happened because workers and their unions organized, fought and demanded action from employers and their government.