NEW YORK — Hundreds of construction workers participated in a “Hard Hat” mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral here April 25 to honor workers killed on the job over the past year. Sixteen hard hats were placed on empty chairs on stage to commemorate workers who lost their lives since last year’s Workers Memorial Day — two union members and 14 nonunion. Inset, family members during ceremony on stage with the hard hats of their fallen relatives. Above, workers march into the cathedral.
“Safety is a big issue for us. What we do is dangerous,” Collins Greene, a member of Ironworkers Local 46, told the Militant. “We work at heights with steel and reinforcing steel so foundations can be strong.”
“While most deaths are of nonunion workers, we are all workers and all the same,” said John Carroll, member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3, who has worked in construction for 30 years. “Construction is a dangerous industry,” he said. It’s important to “shine the light on exploitation of nonunion workers.” Rev. Brian Jordan presided over the ceremony. “We as workers, both union and nonunion, are truly indebted to him for bringing to light the atrocities that are taking place by unscrupulous and greedy developers,” Carroll told the Militant after the program.