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Poems and Tributes

Memorial for Workers

I write these words of honor, for those who gave their lives;
And for their families, their husbands and their wives.
For those whose lives were spent, doing what they must
Working for a living like every one of us.
Their time cut short, by things that didn’t have to be;
To make the workplace safer, for people like you and me.
To make sure their stories will never go untold;
To always keep their memories from ever growing cold.
We must remember the price they all had to pay;
When we honor the men and women on Workers Memorial Day.
Mike Baird
Lodge 21, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Read April 28, 1995

Honor Earned

Here we stand to honor our dead;
To remember them as these words are read.
To give that honor that they have earned;
Is a lesson taught, a lesson learned.
These men and women who gave their all;
And answered God’s hallowed call.
And even though we are apart
They live on in our minds and heart.
So, bow your head and let us pray;
God bless them all on this day.
Mike Baird
Lodge 21, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Read April 29, 2000

Always Remember

We bow our heads in silent grace;
Proud to stand upon this place.
To honor those who we love and lost;
Whose lives were taken at such a cost.
Through the pain and sorrow, for all the brave and true;
To always be remembered by me and by you.
To heal the minds and hearts, of those who still live;
Always remembering what they had to give.
Live your lives with pride in hearing what I say;
May God bless and keep you on this and every day.
Mike Baird
Lodge 21, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Read April 28, 2001

Ouch, I'm Tender

© 2000 by Luis Vasquez (UAW)
Sung to the tune of "Love Me Tender" by Elvis

Hurt my shoulder
Pulling parts
Pain goes down my arm

Carpal tunnel
Manager says
Won't do me no harm

Went to visit
Company doc
Oh boy, what a thrill

Inject some steroids
Pop some pills
All my pain to kill

Repetition,
Bend and twist
Screwed up both my wrists

Bending, lifting
What's the risk?
Blown out all my disks

Workers injured
Some made lame
Then they're made to blame

Fit the worker
To the job
Isn't that a shame

Ouch, I'm tender
This is true
All these strains and sprains

All my aching
Body parts
Driving me insane

Awkward postures
Excessive force
All my joints to swell

Ergonomics
Please come soon
'Cause I hurt like hell

A Prayer for the Fallen

We remember those we have lost with great fondness.

They gave much to the world; as individuals, family members, friends and work colleagues.

We remember their families in their enormous sadness.

For those who have died at work building a better place for the rest of us.

Those who died while constructing our buildings and expressways, hospitals and schools.

For those who have died young and innocent, victims of avoidable accidents

May we learn from this loss, honour the memory of those lost

And work towards a safer work place for all people

Where the rights and dignity of all workers are upheld above all else

Rev. Ian Lawton

When My Work Was Never Done

I left home that day as someone's:
Child
Mother
Father
Sister
Brother
Friend
And loved one;

When my work was never done.

I innocently went to work that day as a:
Laborer
Carpenter
Office Worker
Co-Worker
And a victim.

When my work was never done.

And now you mourn for me as:
Family
Friends
Survivors
Fighters

When my work was never done.

I ask that on this day remember.

Although my work was never done, our work has just begun.

LaVerne Mayfield,
Dedicated in loving memory of her sister Lillian.

We mourn workers who have died in the past and present.

We mourn the losses of those in shirt factories, chicken plants and Bophal. We cry for our members who have died from it all.

We vow to protect our members from the deaths of corporate greed; we declare good health and safety as our creed.

May our tears, sweat and labor strengthen our faith to keep us safe for now and the future.

This we will pledge in solidarity.

Amen

Laverne Mayfield
International Chemical Workers Union

On the first Monday of every September, we celebrate Labor Day.

That's a day we have as a holiday to recognize the strides that labor has made to society; to remember the workforce of America, how important it is for this great of country of ours; and the contribution we have made to make this country the greatest in the world.

On April 28, we will observe Workers Memorial Day. This is a day that goes unnoticed by many Americans, and it should never be forgotten. That's a day we will remember our brothers and sisters who have died or were injured because of work-related hazards.

I ask all of you to stop and think for one moment of someone you know that died or is suffering from an injury on the job. We are all here this week to make our teaching skills better for HAZMAT training.

I know of one person that comes to mind whom I lost; his name was Charlie. Charlie was diagnosed with cancer in May of 1996. After an operation and treatment, he was told later by a different doctor that his disease was definitely work-related. I was devastated by Charlie's news. Our families spent many times together at the New Jersey shore during the summers. We had a very close bond. We weren't only family by being union brothers but our families were close also.

Charlie was my mentor on the railroad. He was like a big brother to me. He would always watch over all of us at work and give good advice.

In June of 1998, Charlie passed away. I was totally overcome in grief. I went to the wake to pay my respects. On the day of the funeral, I went into the church, and I couldn't hold back the tears when I heard the organist playing and singing the song, "You Are My Hero." It hit home. It was appropriate because Charlie was our hero. Charlie was a man that you loved automatically. I loved Charlie.

We have to remember to persevere with our training. Never stop, even with all the roadblocks. We are on a mission to train all our brothers and sisters. We want them to go home every day the way they came into work so they can see their families and reach retirement. We should and we must make our work environment a safer, healthier place for future generations.

So, on April 28, do something--a moment of silence, a candlelight vigil--something to commemorate a day of remembrance of our brothers and sisters so they didn't die in vain. This way we don't have any more Charlies. Because I wish I could say one more time, just one more time to Charlie, "I love you, Brother."

Ron Rios
President, Local 6965
Transportation/Communications International Union

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