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Community to Honor 174 People Who Died on the Job in 2016

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Media Advisory for April 27, 2018

Contact: Jeremy Sprinkle, NC State AFL-CIO, [email protected] // 336-255-2711

Community to Honor Those Who Died Working for a Better Life,
April 27 at 10:00 AM in Raleigh

Deaths of 174 working people in 2016 evidence N.C. Department of Labor can do more to save lives

RALEIGH, N.C. – Local workers, labor and faith leaders, and family members will gather Friday morning on the grounds of the Old State Capitol in Raleigh for an annual interfaith Workers’ Memorial Day service to ring a bell 174 times in remembrance of the 174 people known to have died on the job in 2016 -- 24 more than the year before -- and to call on the N.C. Department of Labor to do more to prevent workplace fatalities.

WHAT: Interfaith memorial service and press conference to commemorate Workers’ Memorial Day

WHEN: Friday, April 27, 2018, at 10:00 AM (10:15 press conference start time)

WHERE: North Carolina State Capitol (south pad/Morgan St side), 1 E. Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC 27601

WHY:  Workers’ Memorial Day is an international day of remembrance for all those who have died while working for a better life. There were 174 such people in 2016, the most recent year for which the full count has been tallied -- 24 more fatalities than in 2015. Yet NCDOL Commissioner Cherie Berry employs fewer workplace safety inspectors than she did 10 years ago, and the commissioner has never attended this memorial service and declined to attend or send a representative this year despite being personally invited by family members and faith leaders at the conclusion of the memorial service in 2017. Ms. Berry can and must DO MORE to protect the lives and health of working people on the job -- including hiring more inspectors and showing respect to workplace fatality victims and their surviving loved ones.

WHO: Rev. Sheila Barrick (ret.), First Presbyterian Church; Manzoor Cheema, Muslims for Social Justice and Project South; Rabbi Rabbi Raachel Jurovics, Yavneh; Eric Winston, restaurant worker, member of Raise Up for $15; President MaryBe McMillan, NC State AFL-CIO; Mary Johnson Rockers (performing), Farmworker Advocacy Network; surviving family members of workplace fatality victims; NC Justice Center, Student Action with Farmworkers, Carolina Jews for Justice, Progress North Carolina, Action NC, NC Alliance for Retired Americans, NC A. Philip Randolph Institute, Working America, Farm Labor Organizing Committee, and others.

UNIQUE PHOTO / VIDEO: The sight and sound of the steady ringing of a memorial bell 174 times.  A few dozen or more community members, many dressed in black, some holding boards displaying the known names of the dead, while other hold photos of workplace fatality victims or posters. A memorial procession from the Capitol to the NC Department of Labor. The hand-delivery by an interfaith delegation of an invitation to Commissioner Cherie Berry to attend the community-organized Workers’ Memorial Day commemoration in 2019.


The North Carolina State AFL-CIO is the largest association of unions of working people in North Carolina, representing a hundred and forty-five thousand members, working together for good jobs, safe workplaces, workers’ rights, consumer protections, and quality public services on behalf of ALL working people. PO Box 10805, Raleigh, NC 27605