Press Release: Sunday, April 28, 2019
Lou Kimmel, 732.762.7687, email@example.com
Cecelia Leto, 609.532.1782, firstname.lastname@example.org
2019 Workers’ Memorial Day March & Rally: Not One More Death
New Brunswick, NJ – Around 300 people gathered at Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple on Sunday, April 28 to celebrate Workers’ Memorial Day, an annual day of action to remember those who have died or been injured on the job, and raise awareness to prevent future illnesses, injuries, and deaths. This year, the theme of the rally was “Not One More Death”. Participants renewed their commitment to fight for safe Jobs for all, cognizant of the rash of gun violence in our schools and sacred spaces, as well as the very real impact climate change is already having on workers and communities. The event, organized by New Labor, the New Jersey Work Environment Council, and other partners in the Jersey Renews coalition, brought together a diverse group of workers, immigrants, environmentalists, educators, and health professionals to march and rally for worker and climate justice.
In 2018, 28 workers died at work in New Jersey. Example of preventable deaths include: falling from a steel structure, crushed by equipment, crushed by between vehicles, exposed to carbon monoxide or being shot during an armed robbery. Employers need to do more and must commit to protecting their workers and putting a priority on workplace safety.
“We go to work to make a living. We don’t go there to die. Our workplaces need to be free of recognized hazards for all workers. And we’ll keep fighting until that happens,” said Louis Kimmel, Executive Director of New Labor.
“This year in New Jersey 28 workers went to work and never returned home to their loved ones. We will continue to march and call attention for safe workplaces until the fatality rate in New Jersey and the nation is zero,” said Debra Coyle McFadden, executive director of the New Jersey Work Environment Council.
“I had a workplace accident years ago that was a result of not receiving proper training. I was lucky, but others are not. We need safe workplaces with responsible employers so that no one suffers a preventable death,” said Del Vitale, Assistant to the Director of United Steelworker District 4.
“As we remember all those we’ve lost to poor working conditions, let us find strength and resolve to ensure all work environments are safe. Safe and sanitary classrooms result in healthy educators and students that can focus on learning. School safety must remain a top priority for all of us” said NJEA President Marie Blistan.
“As the climate gets hotter, more workers will suffer. Increasing insect populations means a higher risk of tick- and mosquito-borne illnesses like,” said Norah Langweiler, campaign organizer for Jersey Renews. “Hotter temperatures mean more cases of heat exhaustion, which can be fatal. More frequent natural disasters create hazardous conditions during clean-up efforts. Climate action is essential to workers’ health, safety, and future”
Many in the Garden State have already seen first-hand the impact of climate change in the form of Superstorm Sandy and a wave of extreme temperatures over the past few years. Climate change is going to continue to have a major impact on a number of professions and workers will suffer. As the temperature increases, workers are more likely to suffer from heat stroke, exhaustion, and even death. The increased temperatures also magnify air pollution, causing or exacerbating respiratory illnesses, heart diseases, and allergies in urban and well-trafficked areas. Increased temperatures increase the risk of heat-related illnesses in exposed workers who work outdoors in hot weather and direct sun, such as farm work, construction, emergency response operations, landscaping, and for those who work indoors with no air conditioning with the temperatures rising over 100 degrees. On this Workers’ Memorial Day, attendees are marching together and demanding our leaders enact strong policies that will protect workers.
New Labor is a membership-based organization of largely low-wage Latino workers that educates, organizes, and fights for better working conditions. For more information, please visit www.newlabor.org.
The New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC) is an alliance of labor, community, and environmental organizations working for safe, secure jobs and a healthy, sustainable environment, please visit www.njwec.org.