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Mourners at the University of Wash. memorial service for workers who died on the job in the past year. Photo by Elizabeth Sharpe/University of Washington.

Mourners at the University of Wash. memorial service for workers who died on the job in the past year. Photo by Elizabeth Sharpe/University of Washington.

KUOW News

Memorial Held For Workers Who Died On The Job In Washington State

Katrina Roi
04/27/2012

The University of Washington held a memorial today for workers who died on the job. Last year 69 people in Washington state died from an illness or injury related to their work. That's the lowest number on record.

Speakers at today's event hope to make additional progress towards keeping workers safe. KUOW's Katrina Roi has more.



TRANSCRIPT

Around 60 people gathered on campus at the UW's open–air Sylvan Theater.

Howard Frumkin: "Today we mourn those who have been injured or killed as a result of going to work"

Howard Frumkin, dean of the School of Public Health, presided over the ceremony. He says worker deaths are down because of the recession: Fewer people are working and many dangerous jobs have been moved overseas.

He says worker safety in the United States has considerable room for improvement. Immigrants are particularly at risk.

Frumkin: "We need to look especially at the most vulnerable populations of workers. Workers in the top flight companies generally have safe work environments. A lot of the companies are doing a very good job. But in the smaller, more rural, more disenfranchised — workers in the field — these can still be very dangerous jobs."

Sound: "Donald L. Potts, electrician ... Aretemio G. Figaroa, laborer ... "

Members of the UW community read the names of the 19 King County workers who died last year as a result of workplace injuries. The individuals who read the names each held a white carnation.

The Seattle Labor Chorus closed the memorial with a song by Northwest native and labor activist Harry Stamper.

Song: "We Just Come to Work Here, We Don't Come to Die."

For KUOW News, I'm Katrina Roi.

© Copyright 2012, KUOW

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