Mirror Lake, Lake Placid, N.Y., site of the 2010 biennial
CSEA Occupational, Safety and Health Conference
CSEA – New York's Leading Union – will renew its commitment to on-the-job safety and health in two important events this week. The union will first join the other unions of the AFL-CIO and mark Workers Memorial Day on Wednesday, April 28 in ceremonies all across New York. Workers Memorial Day is the date that unions of the AFL-CIO and others around the world honor workers who have lost their lives or have been injured on the job. The date is the anniversary of legislation establishing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Later this week, more than one thousand CSEA safety and health activists will gather in Lake Placid, April 30 - May 2, for the union's biennial Occupational Safety and Health conference. A belated Workers Memorial Day program will be held on Friday afternoon April 30 at 4:30 outside the Lake Placid Crowne Plaza Hotel.
Five CSEA members lost their lives due to on-the-job incidents or illness in the past two years. More than one hundred and seventy CSEA members have lost their lives on the job or from illness linked to job related hazards since CSEA began tracking these circumstances in 1983.
The recent CSEA members whose lives will be honored at Workers Memorial Day events are:
• Nicole Gaulin, an Orleans County Social Services worker, in the Town of Kendall. Fatal car crash while on the job, April 21, 2010;
• Nancy Lou Dell-Olio, 62, Amityville School District, School Monitor. Fell down a flight of stairs while accompanying a group of students, Nov. 5, 2009;
• Gary L. Farrell, 48, NYS DOT, Alder Creek Sub-Residency, Highway Maintenance Worker I. Struck by a vehicle while flagging in a work zone, Nov. 2, 2009;
• Sharon M. LaDuke, 57, Village of Potsdam, Sr. Clerk/Registrar. Mesothelioma, May 29, 2009;
• Kevin Forsyth, 46, NYS DOT, Niagara County, Highway Maintenance Supervisor 1. Struck by a motorist while setting up cones in a work zone, July 23, 2008.
"Workers Memorial Day is an opportunity to 'mourn for the dead and fight for the living' to paraphrase the words of the great labor organizer Mother Jones," said CSEA President Danny Donohue. "On-the job deaths and injuries can be avoided with better understanding, preparation, training, equipment, procedures and a stronger commitment to addressing workplace safety and health.
"The fact that more than a thousand CSEA activists will be focused on safety and health issues this weekend should send a message about its importance in CSEA and the need for constant vigilance," Donohue said.
CSEA, which is marking its Centennial Anniversary in 2010, has long made safety and health a priority. The union was instrumental in the 1980 passage of the landmark Public Employee Safety and Health Act, extending OSHA protections to public employees. More than 20 states still do not have similar protections for public employees today.