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Community to Honor 183 People Who Died on the Job in 2017

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Media Advisory for April 26, 2019

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

Community to Honor Those Who Died Working for a Better Life,
April 26 at 10:00 AM in Raleigh

Deaths of 183 working people in 2017 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 183 times in remembrance of the 183 people in North Carolina known to have died on the job in 2017 -- 9 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 26, 2019, 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 183 such people in 2017, the most recent year for which the full count has been tallied -- 9 more fatalities than in 2016. Yet NCDOL Commissioner Cherie Berry employs fewer workplace safety inspectors than 10 years ago, and she has never attended this memorial service and declined to attend or send a representative this year or last year despite being personally invited by family members and faith leaders at the conclusion of the memorial services in both 2016 and 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. Jennifer Copleand, NC Council of Churches; Rabbi Rabbi Raachel Jurovics, Yavneh; Brother James Munir Perry, Muslims for Social Justice; a fast food worker/member of Raise Up for $15; President MaryBe McMillan, NC State AFL-CIO; NC Justice Center, Student Action with Farmworkers, Progress North Carolina, 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 183 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 183 flowers on the doorstep of the NC Department of Labor.


The North Carolina State AFL-CIO is the largest association of unions of working people in North Carolina, representing a hundred 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