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AFL-CIO Now

Tom's Father's Story: This Is No Way to Die

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka sent this message to working family activists:

Tom Ward’s hardest memory to live with was the day his father came home from what would be his last day of work. His father barely made it through the door, fell to the floor and, between tears, said, “I can’t do it anymore.”

The silicosis Tom’s father had been diagnosed with five years earlier—after being exposed to cancer-causing silica dust, working as a sandblaster—had finally caught up to him. Later that year, Tom’s father suffocated to death from his disease. Tom was only 13 years old but has never forgotten the pain his father and family went through.

Tom’s story is all too common, but it doesn’t have to be. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has drafted a proposal that would reduce exposure to the same life-threatening conditions Tom’s father faced on the job. But it’s been sitting with the White House for more than two years now.

It’s time for the White House to act. Sign this White House petition now to tell officials to put job safety standards in place to protect workers.

I just signed the petition and followed these simple steps to do it:

  • If this is your first time signing a petition to the White House on the We the People website, click on the “Create an Account” button.
  • After you create an account, you’ll get an email from Whitehouse.gov asking you to verify your account. Click on the link in that email (give it a second if it doesn’t come right away).
  • After you click on the link, you’ll be able to sign the petition by clicking the green “Sign This Petition” button under where it shows how many people have signed.

For those of you who’ve done this before, you can click on the “Sign In” button to log in and sign the petition. No need to create another account.

I can’t stress how important this issue is for hundreds of thousands of construction workers and their families. This OSHA proposal has been delayed for too long.

Tom—now a proud Bricklayers member—actually testified before the U.S. Senate last year on the issue, thinking something would happen. He shared the same story I just shared with you.

But a year later, nothing’s been done to make workplaces safer for workers and, with every day that passes, more and more workers are at risk.
 

The White House needs to hear from you. Sign the petition now:
go.aflcio.org/stop-silicosis

In Solidarity,

Richard Trumka
President, AFL-CIO

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Tagged under:
BAC
Bricklayers
health
OSHA
safety
safety and health
silica

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