Today is Worker’s Memorial Day with events to mark the day around the state. Sixty-one Iowans who died while on the job were honored at an early event Friday in front of the Iowa Worforce Development office in Des Moines.
Of the 61 who died in Iowa last year, about half were killed in industrial or farming-related accidents. Iowa AFL-CIO president, Ken Seeger, says there’s a problem in Iowa’s workplaces-a lack of safety inspectors. “Some people don’t want regulations on corporate entities and frankly I think that we need a few more — otherwise we wouldn’t have 61 Iowans dying. We can do better, but some people are choosing not to,” Seeger says.
Fifteen of the victims suffered heart attacks while at work. “It represents a lot of families who have lost a wage earner, lost a loved one, whose lives have been inalterably changed,” Seeger says. “This is the 21st century, you’d think we could do better. ”
Todd Osborn of Nevada attended the event to honor his brother Justyn Jarnagin, who died over the summer while working at a construction site. “He’s a really good man, he worked hard, just had a newborn, was full of life and suddenly had it taken away from him. We’re here to honor his memory,” Osborn said.
Unions in Waterloo, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids and Sioux City will host memorial events today for those who died last year.