On April 28, 2022, we observe Worker Memorial Day, a day to reflect on and honor the workers whose lives have been lost in industrial accidents or illnesses contracted at work. 

Over the last two years, the pandemic has been a sobering reminder of the need to prioritize health and safety in the workplace.

In Washington State alone, more than 100 workers died in 2021 due to workplace injuries or illnesses. Many lost their lives as a result of contracting COVID-19 at work. This includes several members of Teamsters Local 117.

Our hearts go out to the loved ones of these fallen workers. 

As a union committed to workplace health and safety, all of us have a responsibility to fight for standards that will prevent these tragedies from occurring in the future.

There is so much we can do. We can report safety violations at work, fight for stronger safety provisions in our contracts, refuse to perform work that is demonstrably unsafe, and take collective action when the boss insists on putting us in harm's way.

As union members, we simply cannot allow any employer to put expediency or company profits before the lives of workers. Our lives and our families are too precious.

In March, Governor Inslee signed a proclamation designating April 28 as Worker Memorial Day and encouraging all people in our state to honor workers who have lost their lives on the job.