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Medical society lauds Man article

Editor: The article "Clinics: An Alternative to Hospitals?" by Anthony Man in the August/September issue (pp. 58-60) was the best analysis of the proposal for recovery centers I have read. We at the Illinois State Medical Society applaud your accuracy and fairness on a subject that didn't receive much of either when it came before the Illinois General Assembly. With this article, you've exceeded your usual high standards of excellence.

George T. Wilkins Jr., M.D.
Chairman, Board of Trustees
Illinois State Medical Society

Readers: Your comments on articles and columns are welcome. Please keep letters brief (250 words); we reserve the right to excerpt them so as many as space allows can be published. Send your letter to

Caroline Gherardini, Editor
Illinois Issues
Sangamon State University
Springfield, Illinois 62794-9243

Illinois Workers' Memorial

Every year, according to the Illinois State AFL-CIO, 10,000 workers in the U.S. die in job-related accidents. That includes about 300 workers in Illinois. Nationwide, tens of thousands more are injured on the job or disabled from diseases. Now these Illinois workers will have a permanent memorial on the state Capitol grounds. A resolution for the memorial, sponsored by the Illinois State AFL-CIO and the Chicago Federation of Labor, passed unanimously at the AFL-CIO convention held in September in Springfield.

The memorial will be an 8 1/2 foot sculpture depicting "three people who represent workers affected by workplace deaths and injuries." Illinois sculptor Peter Fagan was commissioned to design and cast the memorial. A professor of drawing and sculpture at the University of Illinois at Urbana, Fagan is best known for the statue of Richard J. Daley that stands in the state Capitol rotunda. The cost of the Workers' Memorial is about $200,000, to be funded by contributions from union locals, central labor councils and building and construction trade councils across the state. The goal is to dedicate the memorial on April 28, 1992.

The idea of honoring fallen workers came from the national AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C., which established a Workers' Memorial Day to be celebrated on April 28, 1989, and every year after. April 28 was picked because it is the day the 1970 federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was signed into law. Unions say that neither OSHA nor the federal Mine Safety and Health Act have lived up to their potential, in part because they were not a high priority during the Reagan administration. Concerns in the 1990s include fatality rates among construction workers, illnesses and deaths from pesticides among farmworkers, workplace exposure to toxic chemicals, and ventilation changes proposed for underground mines.

On Workers' Memorial Day in Peoria, people gathered in the rain (it rained in 1989 too) to throw black carnations into the Illinois River in memory of friends who had died on the job. Area unions also criticized the safety record of the Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) plant in Peoria. According to Andrew Schneider, a spokesperson at OSHA's Peoria office, there have been three work-related deaths at ADM's Peoria plant: one each in 1987, 1988 and 1990. He said some of the deaths involved work being done by a construction firm at ADM; both ADM and the firm got citations. ADM declined to comment.

In Bloomington, students from Illinois State University's Newman Center sang at the dedication of the Workers' Memorial Grove in the city's new White Oaks Park. The grove consists of 100 trees paid for by the Bloomington-Normal Trades and Labor Assembly and community members. According to the Livingston & McLean Counties Union News, over 100 names were read, including many former employees of the United Asbestos and Rubber Co. in Bloomington.

In Rock Island, a five-ton granite slab with a plaque honoring killed and injured workers from the Quad Cities was dedicated in a grassy area next to the labor temple.

As for the Illinois Workers' Memorial, the only glitch so far is a disagreement over where to put the statue. The state AFL-CIO and the Chicago Federation of Labor want it placed on the lawn near the north drive of the Capitol. The Office of the Secretary of State and the Illinois Space Needs Commission want to create a special area to display new sculptures on the west and south side of the Capitol grounds. The groups are negotiating.

Margaret S. Knoepfle

November 1990/Illinois Issues/13

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