22 local workers who died on the job recognized for Workers Memorial Day

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – 22 workers from throughout the Capital Region who died on the job this past year were honored for Workers Memorial Day Wednesday.

“It’s nice to recognize the day-to-day person who was just going to work, doing their best job, and they lost their life,” says Tonia Bazel, an RN at Albany Med.

After an unprecedented year, the ceremony also honored the lives lost from COVID-19.

“We tried to think how we could do this. How you could ring the bell for every 100, some kind of thing, we would’ve been here for hours, and beside that, I want to know their names. I want to know that she was a mother of two and she went to work,” said Mark Emanatian, Director of the Capital Region District Area Labor Federation.

The impact of the pandemic on co-workers and others is something person for Bazel.

“We, America, we can do much better at protecting our sick, protecting our workers on the sidelines who are caring for these people to prevent them from being sick to continue to care for them,” she said.

In addition to honoring the lives lost on the job, another key part of the event is to fight for those still working.

That fight, a big reason CSEA Capital Region President Ron Briggs came out to the ceremony, following an accident involving two DOT workers on the Northway yesterday.

“That just brought home for me to be here today, that every day, we go to work, every day, someone is getting hurt, someone is getting killed, and we need to make sure that we continue to remind each other we can do better,” he explained.

Workers sickened from chemicals and other factors were also recognized during the ceremony.

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