By TIM ROWDEN
More than 200 union members and their families turned out for the 38th Annual Robert O. Kortkamp Memorial Union Labor Mass and Interfaith Prayer Service on May 7 at the Shrine of St. Joseph, where Labor honored 10 workers from area unions who died or were murdered,on the job or died of work-related injury or illness in the past year, as well as numerous others who passed from our ranks.
An interfaith Labor Prayer Service, led by Mother Teresa Danieley, an Episcopal priest and doctor of ministry student, was held outside the Shrine prior to the mass.
The program was sponsored by the Greater St. Louis Labor Council and the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council.
THOSE WE LOST
Among those we lost were:
AN OFFERING FOR WORKERS
The mass included a special recognition of workers’ lives, skills and craftsmanship, with a presentation and display at the altar of workers’ tools of their trades, presided over by Ed Finkelstein, publisher of the Labor Tribune:
Finkelstein closed the presentation by holding up his smartphone, like the phones most of us carry in our pockets – “Once only a simple telephone, now a powerful computer symbolizing the changes in our world… and how fast computers are changing the way we work.”
FIGHTING FOR WORKERS’ RIGHTS
Every year at this time, events are held across the country to remember workers who have died on the job and honor them by continuing to fight for improved worker safety.
Unions have championed and fought for worker safety throughout their history, influencing state and federal regulations and investing in health and safety education and technical expertise to protect workers’ health and often save lives.