A small group of dedicated North Texas activists gathered at Ferris Plaza in downtown Dallas at 5 PM on April 28, Workers Memorial Day. We were there to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) and to remember all the American workers killed or injured on the job in the past year.
Reverend Ed Middleton recounted the tragedy when a worker fails to come home to his or her family. He then led a prayer for the 5,214 who had fallen in job-related deaths and for the estimated 14 million American workers who had been injured. Special note was taken of the coal miners at Massey Mining and the oil exploration workers who were killed while drilling for British Petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico.
UNITE-HERE organizer Miguel Jauregui talked about unsafe conditions facing workers at Sky-Chef, the company that prepares food for American Airlines passengers. Their union is having a difficult time getting management to listen to their grievances, and Jauregui is asking for community support.
Several of the Sky-Chef employees talked about their difficulties on the job. One brother had apparently been fired for attempting to stand up for decent treatment. Others testified about unsafe conditions.
The group joined together in our appreciation for OSHA and, especially, for Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, who has committed her attentions to improving safety conditions for Texas workers.