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Memorial Erected To Honor Workers Killed On The Job

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The engraving honors Washington region union workers killed in job-related accidents.
Elliott Francis
The engraving honors Washington region union workers killed in job-related accidents.

By Elliott Francis

Wednesday, we observe Workers Memorial Day. That afternoon, a National Workers Memorial was unveiled in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The memorial honors the more than 5,000 workers killed on the job each year, including the nine transit employees who have died in the past year while working for Metro.

The memorial sits on the edge of a quadrangle at the National Labor College, featuring black granite benches erected by union members in honor of those who lost their lives on the job.

Names were read and a bell tolled in honor of workers lost in the West Virginia mine collapse earlier this month.

Earl Beaty was in attendance. He's with local 689 of the regional transit union, which represents metro transit workers.

He says, on paper, the Metro system is one of the safest in the country, but there are systemic problems that must be corrected: "Management using intimidation tactics, hiding reports, reports that don't come out, and that's a problem throughout this country and with Metro," he says.

Beaty adds he's optimistic about the transit agency's ability to improve it's safety record, especially after the recent appointment of interim General Manager Richard Sarles.

"He's new on the job, he's brought a new safety director in and they realize some of the problems that Metro faces now and in the future," he says.

Beaty also says workers need to be more attentive to their equipment and their own safety.

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