On Workers Memorial Day, Activists Remember Victims, Step Up Fight for Living
April 25, 2013
For Second District Vice President Frank Carroll, Workers Memorial Day is not just another day on the calendar.
The L’Ambiance Palace, a 16-story residential building under construction, had collapsed, killing 28 members of the trades, including Donald Emanuel, a Local 488 electrician. One of the victims was only 17 years old, an Ironworkers’ son, says Carroll.
It was one of the nation’s worst construction accidents, one which led to the banning of the “lift-slab” construction method, under which concrete floors are poured on the ground and lifted into place by construction cranes onto an I-beam skeleton.
To honor those who have lost their lives as a result of job-related illness or injury, dozens of countries around world have designated April 28 as Workers Memorial Day.
While the Bridgeport disaster led to some important regulatory reform in Connecticut, the reality is that workplace fatalities remain all too high due to lax regulation and dishonest employers who cut corners on safety to make an extra buck.
The April 17 disaster in West, Texas, is a stark reminder of the importance of the continued fight for workers’ safety. The explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. killed 14, injured more than 160 workers and community residents and destroyed dozens of buildings neighboring the facility.
As labor journalist Mike Elk points out in a Washington Post column, the plant was a disaster waiting to happen.
Despite the scope of the disaster, coverage of the Texas explosion was overshadowed by the Boston Marathon bombings, which occurred two days earlier.
This is why it is more important than ever that the labor movement and all those concerned about keeping working people safe fight for stronger regulations and a crackdown on employers like the owner of the Texas fertilizer plant, says IBEW International President Hill: