Local union takes pause for Workers’ Memorial Day

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Annual observance at IAM Local Lodge 1943 in Middletown

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A bell was softly rung as a candle was lit for each of the 105 employees who died at local steel plants.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 1943 marked its 22nd observance of Workers’ Memorial Day at its offices on Crawford Street late Friday afternoon.

The annual observation is to honor those workers who have died on the job, acknowledge the suffering experienced by families and communities, and to make a recommitment to safe and healthful workplaces for all workers, according to organizers.

Jim Douglas, IAM Local 1943 president, told those in attendance that Workers’ Memorial Day is an opportunity to bring awareness about the 105 men and women who didn’t go home after their shift.

Douglas said the last person who died on site was in 2006.

Jim Gomia, the union’s safety chairman, said the fallen workers worked at Armco/AK Steel plants in Hamilton and in Middletown.

Middletown Mayor Larry Mulligan presented a proclamation during the ceremonies.

Ken Montgomery, Cincinnati area director for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, reminded the audience the 105 workers were only a part of the people affected by their deaths, noting that each of them had families and friends who were also impacted.

“Workers’ Memorial Day brings everything back into perspective,” he said. “We get so busy in our daily routines that sometimes you don’t lose focus but you become complacent. With Workers’ Memorial Day, it reminds you of the ultimate sacrifice is and that the American workers have paid to provide a living for their families.”

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