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Iowans Commemorate Loved Ones Killed on the Job

USW Local 105

Family members around the world are commemorating their lost loved ones today. Workers Memorial Day is an international day of remembrance for those killed on the job. The Iowa chapter of AFL-CIO will hold multiple events throughout the state.

Sixty people died in Iowa in 2015, the most recent year with statistics available. The AFL-CIO is hosting events with speakers like Ken Sagar, president of the Iowa Federation of Labor, who will speak in Des Moines, Dubuque and Keokuk.

"Everybody has dates in their lives that they remember -- that there was somebody that they loved that was alive before that date and they were gone after that date. That date for me is 11/7/11 and that was the day my brother-in-law was killed on the job."

Sagar's brother-in-law was killed working construction in 2011.

He'll talk about changes needed to make work safer for Iowans -- like the state needing to do a better job at funding safety inspections and enforcement, but that won't be his main focus.

"People aren't there because they're democrats or republicans or liberals or conservatives. It's not my job to tell people you should have voted democrat, you might've gotten more funds put into the Iowa Workforce Development -- that's not what this is about. They're there because they lost a family member."

The 2016 numbers on workplace fatalities have not been finalized, but Sagar says the unofficial number is 34. 

172 people died on the job in Illinois in 2015.