This year the annual "Workers Memorial Day" ceremony at White Oak Park will take a little bit longer. Two new names, Bloomington Firefighter Chris Brown, who was killed while responding to an accident near Hudson, and Michael Burleson, who fell to his death at the Cargill plant, are being added to the list of over 200 whose jobs lead to their deaths. Labor leader Mike Matejka of Bloomington says while many people think of being a firefighter as inherently dangerous, those in agriculture are at risk too:
"You look at things like accidents with grain bins, you look at the worker who died at Cargill, you think of occupational exposure. For a farm worker, a migratory farm worker, which is among the poorest Americans, their life expectancy is 49 years."
Matejka says working conditions could deteriorate as the nations budget problem hits the Occupational Safety and Health Administration:
"With the sequestration, they're going to get hit too, and so if there is an accident, they respond quickly, but what gets left out then are the workplace inspections that can sometimes prevent an accident."
The ceremony will begin at 7 O'clock tomorrow morning at White Oak Park, just off Cottage Avenue in West Bloomington. The towering flag pole at the site was build by railworkers right after Pearl Harbor, it was moved to White Oak Park from the old Chicago and Alton rail road shops in 1997.
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