Days To Honor Workers

On Friday, April 23, I joined over Zoom with my colleagues on the Board of the Philadelphia Area Project for Occupational Safety and Health (PHILAPOSH) and guests to commemorate Workers Memorial Day, to honor those workers who have been killed or injured on the job, working for their paychecks to provide for themselves and their loved ones. Over the years, PHILAPOSH has advocated for injured workers, connecting them with lawyers to help them through the workers’ compensation application process; called for “right to know” laws to help workers know the dangers of whatever chemicals they have to deal with; and trained workers on safety techniques on the job-lately the focus was on Latin-American-descended workers in the home construction industry, with materials in Spanish. During the pandemic, PHILAPOSH has been concerned with COVID-19, since such facilities as meat-processing plants have become hotbeds of transmission.

traditionally, PHILAPOSH has, every Workers Memorial Day, conducted a breakfast where we hear speakers discussing workers’ safety problems and legislative and political solutions; we also honor the memory of the workers killed on the job over the past year, along with their loved ones. After the breakfast, we would hold a funeral procession in their honor down Columbus Boulevard to Penn’s Landing, where we would read the deceased workers’ names and throw roses into the Delaware; may their memory be for a blessing.

(Please check the PHILAPOSH web site,, to lend your support for this great organization I’m proud to be a part of.)

Coming up on May 1 is May Day, the International Workers’ Holiday, recognized as such by workers all around the globe-except the United States, where Cold-War propaganda has treated May Day like a commie-pinko subversive thing. Thanks to the work of the late Director Emeritus of PHILAPOSH Jim Moran (may his memory be a blessing), workers in the Philadelphia region are learning the real story about May Day, such as its origins in this country from the Knights of Labor’s movement for the eight-hour day, the Haymarket incident of 1886 after a workers’ demonstration for the eight-hour day, and the framing and execution of several anarchist Labor leaders afterwards. The history of the eight-hour movement and the Haymarket incident can be found in the great Labor History series, History Of The Labor Movement In The United States by Philip Foner, published by International Publishers, .

Workers, let us get together to learn our history-where we came from-so that, armed with  that knowledge, we can unite and build the kind of future we want, for ourselves and our descendants.

group of people doing rally
Photo by Rosemary Ketchum on
Hemperiffic Card

PHILAPOSH Awards Night

Last night I took part in the 34th Annual Awards Night of the Philadelphia Area Project for Occupational Safety and Health (PHILAPOSH), an organization dedicated to protecting the health and safety of workers on the job. Here are some photos I took of that wonderful event:


Peggy Ellis, with the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, winner of the Leadership In Health and Safety Award.


My friend Pat Eiding, President of the Philadelphia AFL-CIO, winner of the Tony Mazzocchi Award


Nicole Fuller, the new Director of PHILAPSOH, following…


…Barbara Rahke, the retiring Director


Lewis Fitzgerald, the other winner of the Leadership In Health And Safety Award


Christina Martinez, winner of the Crystal Eastman Award


Rick Bloomingdale, President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO


Wendy Ruterman (left), Dylan Purcell, and Barbara Laker, winners of the Karen Silkwood Award, for the reporting in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the health hazards of Philadelphia public schools.

We had also a commemoration for Cathy Brady, a tireless union activist who was instrumental in pushing for a memorial to Labor in South-West Philadelphia.

Upcoming, June 16, 2018

I will join members of my congregation, Leyv Ha-Ir (, in a 100% School Funding Day of Action in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, sponsored by Philadelphian Organized to Worship, Empower, and Rebuild (POWER,, here we’ll hold a rally in the State capitol Rotunda for equitable funding for schools in the state, through a “fair funding formula.” We ‘ll also march to Governor Tom Wolf’s office to pray for his support for such a funding plan. Our schools need funding for textbooks, building maintenance, teachers and other staff, libraries, computers-I could go on. Education is not a luxury, it is the great equalizer, the great source of personal and social empowerment.

The Philadelphia Unemployment Project (PUP,, will hold its Jazz Fest at the first Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut Street, on Friday, June 22. They will honor my friend Jim Moran, veteran Labor activist and Executive Director Emeritus of the Philadelphia Area Project for Occupational Safety and Health (PHILAPOSH,, and Wilson Chang, senior IT consultant at the University of Pennsylvania, who has provided IT services for PUP at no charge. (No small service, with the internet being such a part of our lives.) Music will be provided by the Weez The Peeples Collective, led by percussionist Karen Smith. Please contact PUP for tickets to this event. This is a great organization, honoring two great activists.