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Why Didn't AT&T Do Anything to Prevent These Workers' Deaths?

A new report issued by the AFL-CIO, its 30th annual Death on the Job Report, reveals that every day, on average, 275 U.S. workers die from hazardous working conditions. And this was even before the devastating COVID-19 pandemic that has been responsible for far too many worker infections and deaths in our country.

CWA Local 3808 member Eric Chapman, an AT&T worker in Nashville, spoke at an AFL-CIO press event about two CWA members from his local who recently died – deaths that the union believes could have been prevented.

"Just two weeks ago, one of our members, Dan, died from a fall from a ladder while doing a fiber optic install. Dan was 48 years old and worked as a wire tech for about six years. We believe that Dan's death was preventable and that the company was not following its own policy," Chapman said.

Chapman also spoke about Bianca Bowie, his coworker who died of COVID-19. "Bianca Bowie was a ray of sunshine and a diehard Packers fan. She was always so positive and always brought up everyone's spirits," Chapman said. "It took Bianca's death to get the company to make changes to protect us, and even then, it was only because of the demands made by the membership and our union leadership at all levels. Because we fought back – together – we were all eventually able to work from home," Chapman said.

Chapman called on elected officials to support strong, enforceable workplace protections to protect all workers.