Posted by Eric Horvath on April 28, 2014 at 6:57 PM
Councilman Bobby Henon's remarks from Philaposh Workers Memorial Day ceremony on April 25th. Please check against delivery.
First, I’d like to thank the Philadelphia Project on Occupational Safety and Health for organizing this remembrance again this year. I’d also like to recognize the union membership that works with you and supports your efforts on a daily basis.
I’m personally thankful that Council President Clarke asked me to be part of the Special Investigative Committee on Demolition Practices. That committee was charged with revisiting demolition regulations in our City. The report we produced outlined a series of steps necessary to keep the public, and our workers, safer. It’s a particular point of pride from my time on City Council – especially in a City like ours with an aging infrastructure.
We all still remember what it felt like that morning in June of last year when we heard the news that a building had collapsed at 22nd and Market.
It’s never easy to observe and attend events like this one. Too often, we hear in the news about work-related injuries. Too often, we read about health complications that our workers experience long after a job is completed. Too many lives are being lost - one life is too many. But it's up to us to never apologize for being passionate and relentless for public safety and worker safety.
By honoring those who have lost their lives on our job sites – those who build our cities and towns, we raise awareness of worksite safety so the next generation of workers can be that much safer, because a healthy workplace is a safe workplace. It informs our work instead of just talking and thinking in abstractions. It’s not “they.” It’s us.
We are those workers. Union members are everywhere. They coach your Little League teams, they volunteer around our neighborhoods. They keep our streets clean and safe. They honk and wave at their neighbors. To keep workers safe is to keep everyone safe. In that sense, and as a 25-year union member myself, I couldn't be more proud or thankful for the work done by Philaposh and everyone associated with you and the trades from around the region.
Thank you all and please continue to keep these workers, their families and everyone impacted by these tragedies in your thoughts and prayers.