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Published: April, 2013; Vol 9, Num 11

 

Message from the Co-Chairmen (Spring 2013):

Causes, Commemorations Draw Attention
in April

Each spring, a variety of organizations step forward to advance their causes. This year, we join that momentum by highlighting 25 years of work on our own cause: the health and safety of Laborers and their families.

This year, the Laborers' Health and Safety Fund of North America celebrates its 25th anniversary. In terms of health promotion and on-the-job safety, 1988 seems like a long time ago. Our Fund has come through a turbulent era of anti-regulatory reaction and soaring health care costs. It hasn't been easy, but the LHSFNA has not only weathered the storm, it has prospered. Today, our Fund is among the largest and best-respected health and safety organizations in North America. On our centerfold, we highlight some of our most important accomplishments. We see them as building blocks to further service in the years ahead.

April kicks off the season for a host of other causes and concerns, more than can be fully reported in our magazine. One that should be noted is National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, always an early April calendar event. Alerting the driving public to exercise caution and protect the lives of roadway workers, the week should also remind Laborers and contractors that it's time to refresh safety awareness inside our work zones as well. We remind our readers of the Fund's many highway safety publications and encourage you to put them to good use.

April is also National Alcohol Awareness Month in the U.S. and Canada, which underscores an issue of on-going concern for Laborers and signatory employers. Helping you manage – and helping you help your family and friends manage – drinking behaviors that risk your safety, your health, your life and your career has always been an important program of our Fund. Again, we remind you of the many help resources we offer.

April also serves as the national awareness month for Autism, Child Abuse Prevention, Distracted Driving, Minority Health, Sexual Assaults, STDs and a number of other issues that are of serious concern to many Laborers and their families. We urge you to take advantage of this month's increased focus on these topics.

Stress also has a national month in April. We chose to emphasize stress in this issue because it is a serious problem across society and, certainly, for LIUNA members, many of whom have now endured several years of stagnation in construction. Stress reaches into every nook and cranny of our lives. It is unavoidable. Yet, we can and must learn to manage it.

As any union-affiliated organization should, we also devote a portion of our issue to Workers' Memorial Day, April 28, also the anniversary of the founding of OSHA. As fundamental as it is, work is not a cause for which employees should have to give their lives. Yet, annually, about 5,000 workers are killed on the job in the U.S. and Canada. We have made a lot of progress since OSHA's founding in 1970, but still, our losses remain too high. Workers' Memorial Day reminds us of Mother Jones' immortal words: "Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living!"

It's April and the start of a new season. As we start our next 25 years and beyond, we promise persistence and dedication to the cause of safety and health for Laborers, their families and LIUNA's signatory contractors.