MASON CITY —Community members, and local city and labor officials gathered at the VFW Post 733 in Mason City Saturday to recognize Workers Memorial Day remembering those who have been killed and injured while working in North Iowa.
Three North Iowans were killed on the job in 2011:
• Dennis Joseph Knecht, 60, died Sept. 17, 2011, at Charles City, in a farm construction accident.
• U.S. Navy SEAL and Rockford native Jon Tumilson was killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011 when his helicopter was shot down en route to a combat mission.
• Self-employed contractor Robert C. Wisman, 30, Mason City, died Nov. 7, 2011, in Franklin County following a motor vehicle accident on his way home from work.
Last year, 4,500 workers nationwide including 55 workers in Iowa lost their lives on the job. Another 50,000 died from occupational diseases.
“Every day in America at least 12 people on average don’t come home to their families. And that’s not even talking about occupational diseases that have come from years of work in various situations. I think it is really great that the folks can come together and recognize that we shouldn’t have to die to make a living,” said Charlie Wishman, secretary-treasurer of the Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO.
John Colombo, Sheffield, is a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 289.
“It is important to be me because I am a younger electrician. I am not as experienced as some of the guys that have been in the job for 30 or 40 years. Sometimes people get pushed into situations, they get hurried, they get rushed and they do things wrong. My industry, if you touch the wrong thing, you can die. It can be the most mundane thing. You might stick a screwdriver in the wrong place. and the next thing you’re gone,” Colombo said.
“This day is important to me to make sure that people are aware that on- the-job accidents still happen.”
The AFL-CIO hosted nine events around Iowa through the Central Labor Councils of the Iowa Federation of Labor including the North Iowa 9 Labor Council.