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Workers Memorial Day 2024

Workers Memorial Day 2024

We pause today to reflect on those workers who have lost their lives on the job.

Workers Memorial Day is sacred to our labor family because we are all in proximity to someone who has been made ill, hurt, or lost their lives on the job. This is a day where workers across a range of industries and professions have been affected. Worker harm does not discriminate nor is it discerning of class and title. 

AFT Maryland has been among the leaders in Maryland to declare #WorkShouldntHurt. We have partnered with the national federation and local unions to produce health and safety reports that resulted in local governments making immediate changes to workplace safety protocols. We have been leaders in Annapolis calling for the state to provide healthy air quality for workers in state facilities and proper protection for those who work in the community. We took the lead to provide front-line members personal protective equipment (PPE) during the height of the Covid-19 global pandemic. 

Despite our efforts, tragedy visited our state federation when City Union of Baltimore (CUB) Local 800 member Trina Cunningham died while on the job in 2019. We can never remove the pain and horror from that tragic event. We cannot remove the stinging bite her colleagues felt by her loss. We can, and have, reaffirmed ourselves to prevent future tragedies of that gravity. We will speak truth to power, in the halls of power, until our voices are heard, and members are safe. We do it not only for those members working today, but in honor of those members who have suffered at work. 

President Kenya Campbell

Last year, six workers were killed while working on Interstate 695 near Baltimore. More recently six workers lost their lives in the tragic Key Bridge accident. On April 28th, the Metro Baltimore AFL-CIO is holding an event to remember the construction workers who died in that accident, and all workers fatally harmed on the job. Maryland workers deserve better. We all deserve better. We deserve better than to live in a society where a worker killed doing their job is forgotten and we fail to take substantial steps to keep people safe. This is what we will commit to in 2024 and beyond.

To paraphrase the great “Mother” Mary Jones, we pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.

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