In Central New York: To Mark Workers' Memorial Day, Organized Labor Remembers Those Area Workers Who Died on the Job
WAER Editor’s Note: Central New York AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation President Ann Marie Taliercio (on the left) and Dr. Michael Lax, the Medical Director of the Occupational Health Clinical Center in Syracuse, say Employees aren't always protected - despite laws and regulations that have been passed to help ensure their safety on the job. (WAER Photo)
(SYRACUSE, NEW YORK) - Labor Leaders, Worker Advocates and others recently joined together in the Syracuse Suburb of Liverpool for Workers’ Memorial Day to recall the at least 30 people who died on the job in the past year across Central New York.
They say there’s not enough Federal Inspectors to make sure U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Laws are enforced in more workplaces.
The Medical Director of the Occupational Health Clinical Center in Syracuse says the laws also need to be updated to reflect the modernized working conditions.
Dr. Michael Lax sees Workers suffering with job related problems on a daily basis: "We have an ‘epidemic.’ When you look at where the most injuries are most recorded, ‘they're not at the steel mills or places you'd traditionally think.’ ‘They're in hospitals, they're at nursing homes because people are trying to lift patients are blowing out their backs or their shoulders.’"
Dr. Lax added that many health problems exist in work places today that people may never consider.
Meanwhile, Ann Marie Taliercio - the President of the Central New York Labor AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation, says Unionized Employees are offered more protections.
For example, local instructors are now being recognized for challenging their employer after inhaling fumes that made them sick.
"They ‘could have been fired for any’ reason, ‘but probably because they have a Union or any Union, the employer didn't feel free enough to just fire them.’ ‘They can make up any reason.’ We’re ‘Employees at will,’” she said
Both Syracuse Labor Leader Taliercio and Dr. Lax say physical injuries on the job are documented more often, but occupational hazards are not.
It’s estimated that 100,000 people die annually due to a hazardous occupational disease.
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