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Guest Column: Nobody in Wyoming should ever die for a paycheck

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

We're remiss in not posting this sooner. Tammy Johnson--director of the Wyoming AFL-CIO (and a WWAN member)--had a great opinion piece in the Casper Star Tribune earlier this month. We want to make sure that you read it:

"I’ve heard Wyoming’s high rate of workplace fatalities justified and dismissed for years. It’s pass-through truckers. It’s visiting workers from out of state. It’s the nature of Wyoming’s jobs. It’s just the way we work in Wyoming, where workplace fatalities are triple the national average, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics."

"I’d like to ask you to do something with me. Pause right now. Silently count to 31 in your head. Slowly."

Each number represents one person who went to work in Wyoming in 2018 but didn’t make it home alive.

Read the rest of her column here.

(If it is paywalled for you, may we humbly suggest that you consider a subscription? Supporting local journalism supports democracy.)

She continues: "Wyoming is a state of working people. Our jobs make our world go around. A very small number of people here are rich enough not to need a paycheck to live, but the rest of us provide for ourselves and our families by the work we do. We drive Wyoming’s economy and keep our schools strong, our highways safe and our outdoor spaces clean. We are the backbone of the great lifestyle we enjoy in this state; keeping us safe at work every day is the highest priority."

Here's what we think: In Wyoming--which consistently has the highest worker death rate *in the nation*--workplace fatalities are almost exclusively men. Wyoming also has among the largest gender wage gaps in the nation. We believe that they go hand-in-hand. They are two (gendered) sides of the same coin: A culture that does not value workers.

Tammy says it best:

"We can do better."

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