Workers Memorial Day programs planned in Missouri and Southern Illinois

Remember the fallen, renew the fight for safe jobs

Nearly 50 years ago, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, promising every worker the right to a safe job. Unions and our allies have fought hard to make that promise a reality – winning protections that have made jobs safer and saved lives.

But our work is not done. Each year, thousands of workers are killed and millions more suffer injury or illness because of their jobs. After years of struggle, we won new rules to protect workers from deadly silica dust and beryllium, a stronger coal dust standard for miners and stronger anti-retaliation protections for workers who report job injuries.

MISSOURI WORKERS who died on the job were remembered during last year’s Robert O. Kortkamp Memorial Union Labor Mass and Interfaith Prayer Service at the Shrine of St. Joseph in downtown St. Louis.

These hard-won gains are being threatened. The Trump administration has carried out an all-out assault on regulations, targeting job safety rules on beryllium, mine examinations, injury reporting and child labor protections. The Labor Movement and allies have fought  back and blocked some of these attacks.

However, this assault has taken a toll — key protections have been repealed or rolled back, and agency budgets and staff have been cut. The number of OSHA inspectors has never been lower. There has been no action on critical safety and health problems like workplace violence, silica in mining and exposure to toxic chemicals.

With the Democrats now in the majority in the House of Representatives, we have new opportunities to oppose= these anti-worker attacks, hold the Trump administration accountable and push forward to win stronger worker protections.

On Sunday, April 28, the unions of the AFL-CIO observe Workers Memorial Day to remember those who have suffered and died on the job and to renew the fight for safe jobs. This year we will come together to call for action on hazards that cause unnecessary injury, illness and death.

We will stand united against the ongoing attacks on workers’ rights and protections, and demand that elected officials put workers’ well-being above corporate interests. We will fight for the right of every worker to a safe job until that promise is fulfilled.

ILLINOIS WORKERS lost were remembered at last year’s Greater Madison County Federation of Labor’s annual Workers Memorial Service at the Workers Memorial Statue located in the Gordon F. Moore Community Park in Alton. – Labor Tribune photo

The Greater Madison County Federation of Labor’s Workers Memorial Program will be held this Sunday, April 28, at the Workers Memorial Site in Gordon Moore Park, Alton. Workers killed on the job in the past year will be honored, and the names of those who died in past years will be read along with the tolling of a bell. The event will begin at 2 p.m. The park is off of Illinois Route 140.

Any union that has had a member suffer a fatal or permanent disabling injury since April 28, 2018, should alert the Federation by calling Mike Fultz at 618-409-4313 or emailing, or calling Federation President B. Dean Webb at 618-259-8558.

In Missouri, the Greater St. Louis Labor Council’s 40th Annual Union Labor Mass – now known as the Robert O. Kortkamp Memorial Union Labor Mass and Interfaith Prayer Service – will be held on Sunday, May 5, at the Shrine of St. Joseph, located at 11th and Biddle in downtown St. Louis.

The names of members who died on the job specifically, or from work-related illness or injury during 2018-2019, will be recognized with a special ceremony before the mass at 8:30 a.m. outside the church. All union members are encouraged to attend.

Brunch will follow the mass at Maggie O’Brien’s, 2000 Market Street in downtown St. Louis.

For more information, call the Labor Council at 314-291- 8666 or email Amy Phillips at or Christine Brame at

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