Washington, D.C. -- Members of the Communications Workers of America are marking Workers’ Memorial Day, April 28, with solemn remembrances of co-workers killed, hurt or sickened on the job, and determination to end the toll of workplace injuries.
“Many CWA members are exposed to job hazards, dangerous and stressful working conditions, and other job risks. Our union is fighting back against employers that cut corners, violate the law and put workers in jeopardy, and to make certain that government fulfills its responsibility to keep workplaces and working men and women safe,” said CWA President Chris Shelton.
CWA members do many of the jobs considered most stressful, according to a Business Insider list compiled from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*NET Online data, including emergency dispatchers and first responders (Number 1 on the list) to call center workers and telephone operators (Number 3) to social workers (Number 8) to probation officers (Number 16).
On this Workers’ Memorial Day, CWA activists especially remember these members and others who were killed on the job over the past year:
- Kenneth Cleveland, a member of CWA Local 6225 and an AT&T technician with 43 years’ experience, was killed while checking on a residential phone line for a customer in Waco, Texas. Police are investigating his death.
- "Chip" Willie Ray Bonds, a member of CWA Local 3109 and an AT&T Digital Technician was driving his company vehicle when another driver ran the red light and crashed into Bonds’ vehicle. He died shortly after that incident.
- Fred Bosch, a member of CWA Local 3112 with 15 years seniority, was electrocuted while performing aerial telecommunications work. CWA District 3 and CWA Local 3112 are conducting an investigation into Fred's death, and federal OSHA is conducting its own comprehensive fatality investigation.
- John Hare, a Verizon technician with 26 years seniority, died after falling from a ladder while performing aerial work. CWA Local 2222 is working with Verizon to determine the cause of this tragedy; Virginia OSHA has launched a fatality investigation.
- Dennis Martin and Daniel Anderson, members of CWA Local 3676, died while performing their work at SPX Transformer Solutions, one of the largest U.S. manufacturers of medium and large power transformers. After entering a large transformer to perform testing functions, they were suffocated by leaking nitrogen gas. North Carolina OSHA initiated a comprehensive investigation to determine the cause.
- Wanda Holbrook, 57 years old, a member of IUE-CWA Local 84436, was employed as a maintenance technician for Ventra Ionia Main, when she died after being crushed by robotic machinery,
- Last summer, a TV news reporter and cameraman on assignment in Roanoke, Va., were shot dead during a live broadcast. The attack raised awareness and demonstrated how cuts in staffing for news crews have put NABET-CWA and NewsGuild workers at risk.
Also this Workers’ Memorial Day, the AFL-CIO issued its annual report, Death on the Job: the Toll of Neglect.