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President Biden this week is poised to sign into law sweeping legislation that addresses climate change and prescription drug costs; Measuring the Supreme Court abortion decision's impact in the corporate world; Disaster recovery for Eastern Kentucky businesses.

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Infrastructure funding is on its way, ranchers anticipate money from the Inflation Reduction Act, and rural America is becoming more diverse, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the leadership.

Remembering Wyoming's Fallen Workers

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Friday, April 29, 2016   

JACKSON, Wyo. - Wyoming workers who have been killed or injured on the job are being honored this morning at Jackson's City Council chambers.

The U.S. Department of Labor recently ranked Wyoming last in the nation for workplace safety, with 37 work-related deaths in 2014. It was the deadliest year since 2007, when 48 workers were killed on the job.

In the past quarter century, said Mark Aronowitz, director of Lawyers and Advocates for Wyoming, the state consistently has ranked among states with the highest numbers of workplace fatalities.

"So, we acknowledge that we have a problem here," he said. "And we pay respect to the dozens of workers in Wyoming that lose their lives each year, and to let their families know that they are not suffering alone, that there are people who care."

Aronowitz said the state's fatality rate in 2014 was almost four times higher than the national average. Because investigations take time, he said, updated numbers for 2015 won't be released until later this year.

Wyoming has taken positive steps by increasing the number of state inspectors, but Aronowitz pointed to AFL-CIO estimates that it would take 98 years to inspect every workplace a single time. He said a balance must be struck between productivity goals and ensuring safe conditions for workers, particularly in a state that has seen years of prosperity from high-risk mining and oil and gas production.

"But on the flip side, you've got children who will grow up without their fathers or mothers," he said. "I think if we look a little bit less at the bottom line, maybe we lose a little bit of production value. But that's OK if it means everyone gets to go home at the end of the day."

The Equality State Policy Center, the Spence Association for Employee Rights, Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association and the Wyoming State AFL-CIO are among the organizations sponsoring today's event.

The AFL-CIO report is online at aflcio.org.


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