President’s 2018 Workers’ Memorial Day Message

Published: Apr 27 2018 10:25AM

On April 28, Workers and their unions throughout the world will pause to remember the thousands of workers killed and injured in the workplace over the past year.  I ask each of you to take time this Workers’ Memorial Day to remember and honor our fallen Brothers and Sisters.

Each year in the U.S., nearly 5,000 workers are killed at work, 50,000 die from occupational illness, and over 3 million more are injured. During calendar year 2017, twelve (12) U.S. railroad workers were killed on duty, including four (4) fatalities in maintenance of way and structures.  Another 4,144 rail workers suffered reportable injuries, including 1,050 employed in maintenance of way and structures. These railroad employee fatalities and injuries do not include the undetermined number of rail employees who have succumbed to railroad-related occupational illness and disease in 2017.

Unfortunately, these tragic statistics do not tell the full story. Studies show that underreporting or non-reporting of injuries is still rampant and many workplace injuries are not recorded. 

This Workers’ Memorial Day, we honor the victims of workplace death and injury. We vow to continue our safety efforts and hold railroad employers accountable for workplace safety and health.  We call for action on meaningful job safety laws and aggressive enforcement of existing laws. We affirm that nothing is more important than assuring railroad workplaces are free from hazards so our BWWED family members can return safely home from work each day.

Please join me in honoring our fallen Brothers and Sisters by pausing to remember their ultimate sacrifice this Workers’ Memorial Day. Then, let us redouble our efforts to eliminate death and injury on the railroad. In the words of labor pioneer Mother Jones, “Morn for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.”

                        Freddie N. Simpson

                     BMWED-IBT President