Union members gather in Pittsburgh for Workers’ Memorial Day
Union members gathered in Market Square on Monday for Workers’ Memorial Day, honoring those across the county and the country who died on the job in the past year.
“Every seven seconds, a worker is hurt on the job. That accounts for 12,300 men and women every day,” said Darrin Kelly, president of the Allegheny/Fayette Central Labor Council. “For the past three years, this country has averaged over 5,000 men and women killed on the job every year – that is a trend that we have not seen since the early 1990s.”
The annual ceremony is both a memorial for workers injured or killed on the job and a call to action in the fight for safer workplaces.
Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Firefighters union and one of the keynote speakers at the ceremony, said all workers must stand together.
“We’ve got to continue to stand in solidarity in the fight to protect workers and prevent injuries in the future and, God forbid, more deaths,” he said. “We must stand strong as too many employers and too many politicians push to cut corners and reduce the standards and laws that protect all of our members. While they’re doing nothing more than chasing their American dream and providing for their families, they also deserve a safe and healthy workplace.”
Seven people who died in Allegheny County following workplace were honored:
- Kimberly Dollard, 57, who was killed June 6 when a car slammed into the Washington County clinic where she worked.
- James Emsiller, 61, an Emmy-winning sound technician who fell to his death during filming of the Mr. Rogers biopic in Mt. Lebanon on Oct. 11.
- Abdual Ghaniyu Sanusi, 56, a Nigerian immigrant who was supporting his large family with money he made as a pizza delivery driver, was shot and killed during a robbery Oct. 13.
- Oscar Trujillo, 24, fell from a roof in Moon during construction work Oct. 7.
- Jonathan K. Tyler, 62, a Pittsburgh chemistry teacher, died in the school building Nov. 5 from a heart problem.
- Jeffery Fisher, 61, was injured in a gas plant explosion in West Virginia in December. He was flown to UPMC Mercy where he died Dec. 18.
- Adam Hursen, 33, a tree-trimmer who was killed when he was struck by a falling tree in O’Hara on Feb. 4.
The ceremony also honored the 11 people killed in the Oct. 27 anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill.
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter .