Annual Capital District Workers Memorial Day marked with virtual commemoration

Local

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Local labor unions, councils and other partners put together a commemorative video for those who died on the job in 2019. They also honored the essential workers who are currently on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Typically, they would hold a ceremony, but due to the current pandemic, they created a video tribute.

The Capital District Area Labor Federation AFL-CIO, Northeast NY Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, Albany County Labor Council, Saratoga County Labor Council and other partners all worked together on the project.

“We want to remember, today, those who have lost their lives and thank all those who continue to do vital work at great risk,” said Anne Marie Gibson, Research Scientist, IH and NYS CFOI, NYS Department of Health.

According to the Northeast New York Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, in 2019 and early 2020, 14 workers from the greater Capital Region died on the job.

“The deaths were all preventable,” said Gibson.

Gibson said they’re starting to see an increase in deaths caused by automobiles and distracted drivers, but specifically, workers on foot, who are struck by passing vehicles. She said one of those pedestrian-related deaths was Christina Rossi, of Amsterdam. Gibson said she was killed on October 19, 2019 by a drunk driver while she was delivering newspapers. 

According to NENYCOSH, other leading causes of death on the job in the Capital Region include: falling trees, equipment, or vehicles, as well as electrocution, falls from scaffolding, and workplace assault/homicide.

Allyzibeth Lamont, 22,was among those listed in the memoriam. Police said she was the victim of a homicide and last seen at the Johnstown sandwich shop where she worked. The indictment accuses both her boss and her manager of killing her.

Sadly, the NENYCOSH said the number of worker deaths will be even higher this year with the amount of workers who are being exposed to COVID-19.

“It’s obvious that our fight must continue when looking at the current state of readiness on the part of the governments and private entities for a situation like the current pandemic,” said Mike Blue, President of Capital District Area Labor Federation.

“It’s a human right to have a job that pays for our families, but besides that, it’s a human right that you don’t have to worry when you get up in the morning to go to work that you won’t come home because of unsafe conditions. We have the right to health and safety on the job,” said Mark Emanatian, Director of Capital District Area Labor Federation.

The New York State Nursing Association said this year is a particularly painful anniversary as COVID-19 continues to claim the lives of their members. So at 8 p.m. Tuesday, they are holding an online memorial through Zoom for those who wish to share a memory or say a few words.

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