This is a story for this week’s Worker Memorial Day.
It’s 2 am, and I’m at the side of Pat’s crib again. He’s been sick for several days and I am watching his little chest move up and down, breathing much easier now, and as I watch him, I think, what would I do without him, what would my life be now, if something happened tonight, he has given us so much joy and happiness, what in the world would I do.
And then the sun comes up and he is OK and we are all so happy. Then he is bigger and it’s off to school to help him with a bully problem. Then it’s sports, football no, baseball no, wrestling that’s the one. He is really good at it, and he has fun. Then it’s driving and girls and a frantic call to the hospital, a cut hand, but a few stitches and everything is OK again, thank God. Then he is off to the Army, and I am so proud to see him walk across that stage and collect his medals. I can hardly stay in my seat when he passes by. I am busting with pride. His mother Dot and I have done a good job. Pat’s a kind kid with a good outlook for his future, maybe a family, grandkids, that would be great.
Then Pat takes a job, he is growing up, becoming a man, every father’s dream. But two months later, the awful call comes in. Pat has been killed on the job. How could this happen? Why Pat? He did nothing to hurt any one, he is a good and honest kid. Why him? Why not some of these criminals who kill people or hurt people, not a good kid like mine.
But this scenario is played out 12 times a day in this country, a dozen workplace deaths every day.
Why can’t our Senate and House come together and stop this carnage?
Why can’t we put politics aside and work together to bring home our loved ones everyday safe and sound?
Why can’t OSHA make these greedy business’s do the right thing and have a good safety and health plan in place?
I made a statement in a hearing one time years ago: “America can send a man to the moon and bring him home safely but cannot bring our workers home safe and sound on a daily basis. Something is wrong with this picture.”
I know how the other families feel, but as I pray daily for these folks I wonder how the families from the Bartlett explosion are coping, or the Taylor family or Labretta, or Tammy and her family.
How do you go on after this horrible tragedy hits you like a ton of bricks?
Your whole world changes, nothing is ever the same and because these are kids.
Corporate America knows it does not have to pay anyone for these deaths, so who cares?
I’ll tell you who cares: we do. Corporate America could give every grieving family a million dollars today and it would not stop the pain or give us our child or life back.
We do not want money. Want justice. We want Corporate America, OSHA, MSHA and the Justice Department to know we are coming. We want prosecution, we want justice. We do not want negotiations, we do not want bargains, we want justice. If Corporate America will not do the right thing, then we will have to make them. Give the worker the right to sue. I guarantee we will put a stop to the deaths that way.
As I sit in the swing on a beautiful evening, with nothing but memories to hold on to, I wish Pat would bust through that screen door and grab me and throw me to the ground and try and hold me down.
I wish his kids could come and visit Pop and GG and I wish we could have our life back, but sadly that is not to be and I know it. But I still wish he were here.
Too many other families are wishing the same thing, and even more sadly more families tomorrow will feel the sting of death, because of Corporate Greed and because no one is willing to stand with us and put a stop to all this pain and suffering. We keep looking to the heavens for guidance and help. We hope and pray that our calls will be heard and our tears will someday stop. God Bless America and God Bless these families as well.