Workers Memorial Day 2019
By Dennis R. Pierce
BLET National President
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, April 26 — Each year on April 28, unions including the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) recognize Workers Memorial Day and remember American workers who were injured or killed in on-the-job accidents. We commemorate and honor these workers and renew the fight for safe workplaces.
With Corporate America’s ongoing push to break unions and end the Middle Class, and with vulture capitalists negatively impacting the railroad industry though the pursuit of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR), it’s more important now than ever before to get involved with your union. The BLET is the leading advocate for your safety in the workplace. Our Brotherhood has secured regulations, safety standards and other protections that have made workplaces safer our members.
But many railroaders have no union protections, like the workers at numerous short line railroads throughout the United States. Their jobs are just as dangerous as those who work for Class I railroads, but they do not have the backing of a union or the protection of a union contract, so they are often afraid to speak out. And when they do, many short line workers are fired or harassed by their employers for simply voicing job safety concerns or reporting injuries. Through the foresight of our delegates at the Fourth National Convention in October of 2018, the BLET established a Short Line Division. It was an important first step toward bringing a higher level of safety and union protection to our counterparts in the short line industry.
On this Workers Memorial Day, I urge you to take a moment to remember those who have been killed or injured on the job. I urge you to get involved with your union, become active and aware, and educate yourself about the issues in Washington D.C. that impact your job and your safety.