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Honoring Fallen Workers This Workers' Memorial Day

During Workers’ Memorial Week of Action, which spanned April 22-28, workplace safety advocates, workers’ centers, unions, faith-based groups, and other activists across the country held events, released reports, and shared stories of workers who have been injured or killed on the job.

Reports were released by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH), MassCOSH, NYCOSH, and Worksafe in conjunction with SoCalCOSH, not to mention reports in North Carolina and Tennessee.

Days 4-5 of Workers' Memorial Week of Action: Twitterstorm, Events, and Remembering Stephanie Moulton and Luis Martinez

Workers’ Memorial Week of Action continues – yesterday with a very successful Twitterstorm, swarms of media coverage, and events from Massachusetts to California. Today, events are taking place in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and more!

Day 3 of Workers' Memorial Week of Action: Preparing for a Twitterstorm, Remembering Eva Macias

Today marks the third day of Workers' Memorial Week of Action, and we show no signs of letting up yet. We've shared infographics, released a report, held a press conference, and hosted a Facebook Town Hall. We've also conducted several interviews and been highlighted in many media outlets. (We'll post about our coverage in the future.) Tomorrow, we're gearing up to storm Twitter and let the Twittersphere -- and everyone else -- that too many workers face untimely deaths on the job, and that we must take action to prevent more from doing the same.

Below, we'll share some Twitter tips to get you all started, including Twitter handles to target, hashtags to use, and even sample tweets. But first, we wanted to take the time to remember Eva Macias (right), a 66-year-old Mexican immigrant who was killed on the job at a waste management facility in San Leando, Calif.

A native of La Palma Michoacan, Mexico, Eva arrived in the United States in 1969. Eva worked most of the time after that, as she and her husband, Victor, raised three children.

For about 30 years, Eva worked in an East Bay plant making wood for number 2 lead pencils. When it closed, she was hired at Waste Management’s Davis St. material recycling and transfer plant in San Leandro. It is North America’s largest recycling company.

Eva thrived there for 13 years, working as traffic director (a flagger), directing the public to drop-off areas. 

It all ended on June 18, 2012. About 3:00 p.m. on that day, she was hit and run over by a front-end loader driven by a co-worker. The man was a 22-year employee in the small department where everyone knows one another.

The 5-foot-three-inch woman was wearing a reflective sweater, hardhat, and glasses. But the bucket on the loader was off the ground high enough so that the operator couldn’t see people walking in front of him. Six members of the public were on the site, emptying trucks of recycling materials. Two saw the loader hit Eva, snagging her shirt and lifting her in the air before she fell to the ground and was run over.

Eva died that night in hospital. She left behind her husband, children, five grandchildren and nine siblings.

“We miss her very, very much,” her daughter, Maria, said. “I miss everything -- our dinners together, the family being together. It’s different now. Everything’s different.”

Read more about Eva's story and what happened in the wake of her death.

It's because of stories like Eva's that we continue our fight for safer workplaces. Eva was just one of the 4,609 workers who died on the job in 2011.

Here are some Twitter tips we can all use tomorrow to draw attention to stories like Eva's, and like so many other workers'. 

Worker fatalities accumulate in Bangladesh garment industry

Just five months after a Bangladesh garment factory fire killed 112 workers, another garment factory in the region collapsed, taking the lives of 87 workers with it. Many more workers were trapped beneath the rubble of the eight-story building.

Reuters reported even worse carnage: nearly 100 workers killed and more than 1,000 injured. 

Day 2 of Workers' Memorial Week of Action: National Report, Protecting Temporary Workers and Remembering Day Davis

Today, National COSH released its Workers’ Memorial Week of Action report, “Preventable Deaths: The Tragedy of Workplace Fatalities,” which combines stories of injured and fallen workers with hard data to portray the heart-breaking reality of workplace fatalities. (Read the press release here.)

Kicking off Workers' Memorial Week of Action: Sharing infographics and honoring Orestes Martinez

Today, National COSH and allies kick off Workers’ Memorial Week of Action, the largest commemoration yet to honor workers injured or killed on the job. We’re just getting warmed up.

Today, we urge everyone in the workplace health and safety community – and everyone else, for that matter – to share this infographic depicting the prevalence of workplace fatalities, and the minuscule OSHA fines that often accompany them.

Next week is Workers' Memorial Week of Action -- and here's what you can expect

If we’ve seemed a little light on the blogging the past few weeks, it’s because we’ve been gearing up for Workers’ Memorial Day, and this year’s Workers’ Memorial Week of Action.

This week-long commemoration (April 22-28) is set to be the largest, most powerful observance of injured and fallen workers yet, with actions and events – not to mention compelling reports and testimonies – across the country. Read about some of them here!

New York Times keeps pressure on worker health and safety

It’s been a big week for covering workplace safety at the New York Times. Last weekend, the Gray Lady published a major, front-page, above-the-fold investigation into a chemical used in workplaces across the country that is known to make workers sick – and how regulators have done little to stop its use.

Three years after Upper Big Branch

It has been three years since 29 miners perished in a Raleigh County, W.Va., mine explosion, and what do we have to show for it? Not much.

In the wake of the Upper Big Branch disaster, Congress has yet to enact legislation that would protect miners who plunge into the depths of the Earth – and it’s the miners who are suffering the consequences.

New York Times feature explores occupational illness, regulatory inadequacies

The New York Times’ Ian Urbina released an important exposé over the weekend about workers at a North Carolina furniture company who have been sickened by a chemical used in the furniture glue. 

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