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Workers’ Memorial Day 2014

By Dennis R. Pierce
BLET National President

CLEVELAND, April 26 — Workers’ Memorial Day has been commemorated on April 28 every year for the past 21 years. On this solemn day, we remember those who were killed or injured on the job and we rededicate ourselves to the struggle of making workplaces safer for current and future workers.

On the BLET website, you will find a Memorial Page honoring those who have lost their lives in the line of duty since 1989. Sadly, there are too many names on the list. These Brothers and Sisters were victims of unsafe working conditions, poorly planned work schedules, fatigue, and countless other factors that make railroading one of the most dangerous occupations in the world.

Their tragic fate is a reminder that we as an Organization still have a great deal of unfinished work to bring about positive safety changes in the rail industry. Such change does not happen overnight. The road is long and our opposition is powerful. But by working together we can move forward, inch by inch, so that safety rules and regulations better protect future generations.

In honor of our fallen Brothers and Sisters, I ask you to do your part in bringing about positive safety changes in the industry. One of the most basic steps you can take is to document and report unsafe working conditions. Your union needs evidence like this when facing the carriers at the bargaining table, and when educating politicians or meeting with safety regulators in Washington, D.C.

On Workers’ Memorial Day 2014, I ask you to be guided by the words of Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, the great labor leader of the turn-of-the-century coal mines, who said: “Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.”

Saturday, April 26, 2014

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