Editor’s note: The Department of Labor will host a Workers’ Memorial Day event at 10:30 a.m. ET on April 28. The author of this guest post, Duronda Pope, will participate. Watch at dol.gov/live.
May 28 is Workers’ Memorial Day, a day set aside to mourn the dead and fight for the living.
But that’s every day for me.
For 10 years, my job with the United Steelworkers has been to jump in to help when a member of the union has been killed or permanently injured on the job. I’ve been there for hundreds of families at the lowest times in their lives, when they have to imagine going on without their wife or husband, parent or child.
Earlier this month, a 32-year-old was checking fire extinguishers when he walked into a room full of deadly nitrogen. He and his wife had just lost a child, and then she lost him, too.
Before that, a member was crushed by a falling steel door. She was a mother and a grandmother, and was just six months into the job.
I went to the home of a member who died after falling 75 feet into a pit, and I met his two sons, Jason and Josh, 6 and 7 years old. They were telling me about a fishing trip with their dad when his truck pulled up and they ran over to it, so excited. But it wasn’t him behind the wheel, and we had to explain why.More ...