Workers Memorial Day Remarks of RGVALF President Dan Maloney

In past years we would typically gather together in large groups at Workers Memorial Day events across our entire Area Labor Federation jurisdiction, but this year, things are drastically different. The global pandemic of the corona virus is causing events to be postponed, rescheduled, or cancelled altogether. Yet, the necessary and essential functions that workers perform can not be cancelled, and that endangers those that keep our Nation up and running.

First responders, doctors, nurses, and all that make our medical system work have never been at higher risk in my memory. Those working in the U.S. postal service, police, fire, food service and agriculture, energy supply line, transportation and warehouse, infrastructure and construction, communication, pharmaceutical, and the manufacturing sector are all essential. Medical and military personnel, and all those essential workers listed above, are responsible for keeping our Country from falling into chaos and anarchy. These are our family, friends, and neighbors, these are everyday heroes!

This virus has shown us who’s truly necessary to keep our Nation safe and secure, and who is at the greatest risk. It is not the Wall Street broker, banker, or corporate CEO that really matters when things need fixing; it is the blue collar worker that gets it done. I believe this pandemic has lifted the blinders of some that looked down on the working class professions, and maybe some good will come from this global crisis.

 As the true value of workers is seen and realized, maybe those in positions of power will reassess their disdain and contempt towards the working class. Maybe they will actually recognize the contributions workers make to any venture or enterprise and be more willing to share the profits and rewards. Perhaps those in government will see the need for a nationalized health care system that recognizes health care as a basic human right. Maybe a new focus on worker health and safety can come out of this tragic moment in time.

Yet today as at each Worker Memorial Day, we take a moment to remember those that have been injured or killed at work. We take stock in the advances we’ve made toward safer workplaces, and remember how much further we need to go. We in labor must stay energized and driven in the pursuit of injury free workplaces, and advocate for the most stringent health and safety standards for our members. It is true that an injury to one is an injury to all, and one workplace death is one too many.

Be well, stay safe –

Dan Maloney