Workers Memorial Day 2023


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Workplace safety is everyone’s right. We all deserve to know that we are going to make it home at the end of the day. Your Local 71 Union has fought hard for workplace safety. Whether hazardous materials, equipment, weather conditions, or worker shortages that need to fill positions so that you can get the rest you need, Local 71 has engaged with employers in the best interest of our members.

In 2019, Alaska ranked dead last (50th) having the most Workplace Fatalities. The recently released 2023 report shows that we now rank 5th from the bottom with 20 fatal injuries on the job in 2021 according the Department of Labor, Research & Analysis Division. Laborers in transportation and warehousing ranked number two nation-wide, for the highest rates of injuries and illnesses, and those working construction ranked fourth. While we have made some progress, this is still unacceptable.

We have fought hard to ensure safe workplaces. We have won protections that have made jobs safer, saved hundreds of thousands of lives and prevented millions of workplace injuries and illnesses but it is clear that our work is not done.

We are hitting the message home that unfilled vacant positions are making it harder on our members, and that exhaustion is a workplace safety issue. Many of you have been filling in for vacant positions too long now. We know that you’re working schedules that were sold to you as temporary but have endured for years now. We have told your employers and the Alaska legislature that they have the power to fill those positions by raising your wages and increasing your benefits.

April 28th each year marks International Workers Memorial Day. On this day we remember workers who have died or suffered illness or injuries while on the job. Please take a moment on Friday, April 28th to remember those who were lost or injured on the job:

· At your daily safety meeting, before your shift, or on your break, take a moment.

· Remember their names.

· Commit to safety on the job – for yourself and others.

· Commit to point out safety needs on the job to your supervisors and Union Representatives.

Working people deserve safe jobs, and they deserve them now. We must protect working people’s lives and health. One of our very own flaggers was struck by a vehicle while on duty in 2018. We continue to seek measures for materials exposure relief, and personal protective equipment. The COVID-19 epidemic has highlighted the many reasons that representation on the job matters now.

As Business Manager of your union, I am fighting every day for our member’s rights. Please let us know if you see, hear, or are subjected to any impropriety on your jobsite. You deserve better, and your union is in your corner. This is an important day to remember. Most importantly, we must not forget a history we should never repeat. Therefore, we remember the dead, and fight like hell for the living!

In your service,

Jordan A. Adams

Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer for Public Employees Local 71