Modified: October 10, 2015 3:33pm
ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) and other elected officials, Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Troy P. Schinzel, President of the Buffalo Central Labor Council John Mudie, Western New York Area Labor Federation President Richard Lipsitz, members of the Workers Memorial Committee, and area laborers and their families to unveil and re-dedicate the Worker’s Memorial at Chestnut Ridge Park. The monument, commissioned by the Buffalo Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, is made of granite and etched with depictions of area laborers in fields such as agriculture, transportation, and the automotive industries, among others.
“The Worker’s Memorial provides a focal point for reflection on the sacrifices made by laborers in our area, and here we especially remember those workers who died on the job as they sought to provide for their families,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “These men and women are everyday heroes and are the builders of our economy and our communities. We will never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice as they worked in their chosen profession, and we will never stop striving to increase workplace safety so that such tragedies can be avoided in the future.”
“Last year alone nearly five thousand Americans left for work and never came home,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “County Executive Poloncarz, the Western New York AFL-CIO and the Buffalo Central Labor Council are to be commended for their collaboration and commitment to preserving and restoring a fitting tribute to our friends and neighbors who died on the job.”
WNY Area Labor Federation President Richard Lipsitz said, “We are very pleased that the Worker's Memorial site at Chestnut Ridge is being re-dedicated today. The new refurbished and improved Memorial Tablets are beautiful. The location provides a place of tranquility and reflection for those who have lost their lives while at work."
“Visitors to this monument will know of the sacrifices made by workers of all occupations, whether it is the fireman, policeman, public servant, or first responder,” said John Mudie, President of the Buffalo Central Labor Council. “Iron workers, steel workers, auto workers, utility workers, and health care workers, all workers in any field that gave their lives in the name of labor can be remembered here at this site.”
“The Worker’s Memorial has been restored to a place of prominence in Chestnut Ridge Park and is a special addition to the grounds,” said Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Troy P. Schinzel. “I would like to thank our partners at the Labor Council for their help and persistence in completing the Memorial, and I encourage all residents to come to the park to see it.”
The Worker’s Memorial site was originally established and dedicated in 2000, with the original monument removed for refurbishing work later in the decade. However, that work was never completed under previous administrations and from 2003 until this year the monument languished in an unfinished state. In 2015, collaboration between the Parks Department and the Buffalo Central Labor Council breathed new life into the project and brought a larger, more detailed monument to the memorial site.
The re-dedicated memorial consists of two granite slabs quarried in New Hampshire along with a special, harder granite main slab that was quarried in South Africa. The slabs are etched with representations of laborers in various professions in Erie County that have traditionally had the highest rate of fatalities and illness.
For more information:
On the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry visit http://www2.erie.gov/parks/