Honoring the fallen

Two U.P. locations to mark Workers Memorial Day

NEGAUNEE/CALUMET — Michigan workers who have been injured or died on the job will be honored at two Upper Peninsula Ceremonies on Friday.

The community is invited to a Workers Memorial Day event at Ronn Hall in Negaunee at 6:30 p.m., according to a Marquette Alger Central Labor Council press release.

A similar ceremony will be held at Italian Hall Memorial Site in Calumet at 7:30 p.m to commemorate the 73 workers and children who died in the 1913 Italian Hall Tragedy.

Workers, faith leaders and local officials are also expected to attend the two events.

The MACLS release states that unions of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, or AFL-CIO, observe Workers Memorial Day to remember those who suffered and died on the job, and renew the efforts to ensure job safety.

“This year we will come together to stand united against attacks on workers’ rights and protections. We will defend against the right of every worker to a safe job and fight until that promise is fulfilled,” the release stated.

Western Upper Peninsula Community Labor Council chairperson Bill Wanhala said Workers Memorial Day is even more important due to the current administration’s attempts to roll back the job safety budget as well as rolling back regulations that protect workers from serious hazards like silica dust, chemical explosions and workplace violence.

“Far too many elected officials and business groups are actively blocking common sense protections that would keep workers safe on the job,” Wanhala said. “They continue to put profit ahead of safety and health, and workers continue to suffer injuries and even death. Working people are not disposable and deserve good, safe jobs.”

MACLS President Rich Helgren said all workers deserve the right to a safe workplace.

“That’s why Workers Memorial Day is so important. We will honor those who either have been injured or lost their lives at work. It’s a pledge to fight for safe jobs, economic security, opportunity, and a better life for all.”

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.