Workers Memorial Day honors the fallen
Government, labor, and religious leaders gathered on April 28 to remember Oregon workers who died on the job in 2016 and to renew the call to maintain safe and healthy workplaces.
Each of the lives lost represents "a story ended before its time," Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA, said during the Workers Memorial Day ceremony in Salem. The ceremony included the reading of the names of 66 workers who died on the job in 2016.
Noting the words of Mother Jones – "Mourn the dead; fight like hell for the living" – Wood urged those who'd gathered for the ceremony to "go forward in that spirit."
Coordinated by the Oregon AFL-CIO, the event took place at the Fallen Workers Memorial outside the Labor and Industries Building.
By mourning the dead, we commit ourselves to preventing "needless deaths, needless sorrow," said Tom Chamberlain, president of Oregon AFL-CIO.
Elana Pirtle-Guiney, workforce and labor policy advisor to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, read the Workers Memorial Day proclamation. State Rep. Barbara Smith Warner read aloud the names of workers who died on the job in 2016. The Rev. Richard Davis of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem led an invocation and moment of silence. Members of the Salem Firefighters Pipes and Drums played "Amazing Grace."
The annual Workers Memorial Day serves as a nationwide day of remembrance.
The observance is traditionally held on April 28 because Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act on that date in 1970.