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The AFL-CIO Remembers Those ‘On-the-Job’ That Have Died from COVID-19

April 16, 2020

By AFL-CIO

Compiled by the AFL-CIO on April 15, 2020 and will be periodically updated. As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the United States, our sisters, brothers and friends in the labor movement are among the first casualties.  It is important to remember those who we lost because of the coronavirus. This list includes deaths reported to the AFL-CIO. For names and information of additional union members to be added, please send details to kquinnell@aflcio.org.

Mario Araujo of Chicago, Illinois, Fire Fighters: “Araujo, 49, joined the fire department in October 2003 and spent most of his career on Truck 25, which operates out of Engine 102 in Rogers Park on the North Side. He died April 7 after a battle with the coronavirus. He is the first member of the fire department to die of COVID-19.”

Rolondo “Sonny” Aravena of New York, Communications Workers of America: “Rolando ‘Sonny’ Aravena passed away on Sunday, March 29, due to COVID-19. It was the day of his twin daughters’ 10th birthday. Sonny left behind his wife Melody Aravena and their five children: Amberly, Jayden, Ethan, Ameera and Olivia.” His co-worker Marlon Escobar said: “He came from a big and loving community. People from a lot of different places all knew and loved him.”

Jennifer Robin Arnold of New York, IATSE: Jennifer was a long-time member of IATSE Local 764. She was a member of the wardrobe crew of Broadway’s “Phantom of the Opera” since its curtain first went up more than 32 years ago until the shutdown of theaters in mid-March. In addition to her work at Phantom, Jennifer was an avid bike rider and an artist. She made artistic matchboxes and many of her friends and colleagues proudly wore scarves, hats, headbands and other accessories that Jennifer made as gifts. She loved a good story and to share a laugh with her friends.

Jeff Baumbach of Stockton, California, National Nurses United: Baumbach was a member of the California Nurses Association/NNU worked as a registered nurse at St. Joseph’s Medical Center. He helped place incoming patients with the proper care and trained nurses.

Mark Blum of New York, SAG-AFTRA and Actors’ Equity: “Though he was perhaps best known for the 1985 film ‘Desperately Seeking Susan,’ in which he starred alongside Madonna and Rosanna Arquette, he most recently appeared in supporting TV roles on the HBO series ‘Succession,’ the Netflix drama ‘You’ and Amazon’s ‘Mozart in the Jungle.’ He was a staple in the New York theater community, frequently appearing on Broadway, including the revival of ‘Twelve Angry Men,’ though he appeared off Broadway much more often.” SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said: “This is a painful loss to our SAG-AFTRA family. Mark Blum understood that all performers working in this industry share the same employers and that our strength depends on our unity. He was a visionary. Mark will be deeply missed, and our hearts go out to his wife, Janet Zarish, his friends and all of his loved ones.”

Valerie Brown of Texas, Transport Workers: Brown was a member of TWU Local 513 since she started work at American Airlines in 1983. She was a fleet service clerk at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. She left behind husband Gerald Brown, a retired Local 513 member and American Airlines fleet service clerk, and a son, aged 22.

Alejandro Bustamante of Yonkers, New York, Transport Workers: “The union sadly announces the passing of Alejandro Bustamante, a school bus driver for the First Mile Square School Bus Co. in Yonkers. Brother Bustamante is the 11th Local 100 member, and first from our School Bus Division, to die of the Coronavirus plague.”

Priscilla Carrow of New York, Communications Workers of America: Priscilla was a member of CWA Local 1180 who worked at Elmhurst Hospital.

Hesronni St. Anthony Cayenne of New York, Transport Workers: “Local 100’s Structure Division has lost its elected Vice Chair to the Coronavirus. Brother Hesronni St. Anthony Cayenne, just 48 years old, died in the hospital on April 9, 2020, after taking sick to the virus recently. He was born in Carriacou, a small island that is part of the Grenadine Islands located in the southeastern Caribbean Sea…. Vice President John Chiarello said that Brother Cayenne’s passing “is a heartbreaking loss to our union and to his wife and children. It’s terrible.” President Tony Utano offered his condolences to Brother Cayenne’s family. ‘Many of our union officers in all Divisions have fallen sick to the virus as they have tried to represent the workers in the middle of this crisis.  And now we have lost one of them.  This is really difficult for the entire leadership team.'”

Manuel Chavez of New York, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union/UFCW: Manuel, who went by the nickname Victor, was a member of Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW. He worked at Zabar’s for 32 years in the Mezzanine section. Victor passed away on April 2, 2020.

Raul Clarke of New York, Transport Workers: TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano said: “I offer my deepest condolences to all of our Local 100 members at Big Bus here in New York and across the country. I can only hope and pray that this dark cloud over our country passes quickly.”

Roy Coleman of Shreveport, Louisiana, AFGE: “Roy Coleman, 64, was an emergency medical technician (EMT) at the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana. He died Monday, April 6, of complications from COVID-19. He was a veteran and member of AFGE Local 2525.” AFGE National President Everett Kelley said: “On behalf of the 700,000 workers AFGE represents, I extend my deepest condolences to the families of Roy Coleman and Vianna Thompson. Their avoidable and untimely deaths highlight the risks facing front-line health care providers and other mission-critical workers every day—and the scandalous lack of action to keep these workers safe.”

Carlos Consuegra of Union City, New Jersey, Machinists: “Consuegra, 52, had worked as a ramp service employee for United Airlines at Newark International Airport since 2007. The longtime worker was described as a mentor to other workers at the airport. ‘He was a good worker. If you didn’t know how to do something, he would teach you,’ one worker told NJ.com.”

George Culetsu of Ohio, AFSCME: “OAPSE joins our sisters and brothers at AFSCME Ohio Council 8 in mourning the loss of George Culestu, a member of AFSCME Local 2493 at Trumbull County Maintenance Department, who died as a result of COVID-19. On behalf of the entire OAPSE/AFSCME family, we extend our heartfelt sympathies and prayers to the family of Brother Culestu.”

Oliver Cyrus of Brooklyn, New York, Transport Workers: “We have lost a second union brother to the coronavirus. [Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority] Bus Operator Oliver Cyrus out of the Manhattanville Depot passed away today. Local 100 Vice President Richard Davis, who has known Brother Cyrus for most of his 21 years on the job, said he was ‘a quiet, humble man. He was well liked by all his co-workers. The workers at Manhattanville are all very upset. There’s a somber mood at the depot.'”

Karisma Dargan of New York, Communications Workers of America: Karisma was a member of CWA Local 1182 who worked in the New York City Police Department’s Traffic Enforcement District.

Oscar Davila of Los Angeles, Boilermakers: “Nineteen years ago—just four years after emigrating to the U.S. from Mexico—Oscar Davila was working a job to nowhere in the Los Angeles area when he heard about the Boilermakers from an unlikely source—an Ironworker. That conversation changed the direction of his life. Since then, Davila, president and acting business manager of Los Angeles’ Local 92, has worked hard and smart, with both determination and ingenuity.”

John Dawson of Marion, Ohio, AFSCME: Dawson worked as a corrections officer. Gov. Mike DeWine said: “Mr. Dawson’s death reminds us that as we celebrate the fact that Ohio is doing comparatively well, we are still seeing a large number of deaths. People are dying every single day. Our heart goes out not only to Mr. Dawson’s family, but to all those families who are suffering because they have lost a loved one because of the coronavirus.”

Philip Dover of Newark, New Jersey, Amalgamated Transit Union: Philip, a member of Local 819-Newark, N.J., was a bus operator for New Jersey Transit for the past 24 years. ATU International President John Costa called the death “another tragic loss of a heroic front line worker in the fight against COVID-19 and asked that all pray for Brother Dover’s family, extended family, friends and Local sisters and brothers during their time of grief.”

Larry Edgeworth of New York, NABET-CWA: Larry was a member of NABET-CWA Local 51011 who worked at NBC News.

Scott Elijah of New York, Transport Workers: In addition to his work for New York City Transit, Elijah was pastor of the Bethany AME Church in Yonkers. President Utano said: “I wish I had the words to say to bring comfort to Brother Elijah’s family, his friends and co-workers in Track. But I don’t. I can only wish that the support our union will bring to his family now and into the future will bring them strength in their moment of grief.”

Sabrina A. Eubanks of New York, Transport Workers: “Union mourns station agent and author Sabrina A. Eubanks. She was a prolific author of fast-paced fiction, including the Love and Consequences [series] and the Karma series. Her novels also included ‘Chasing Bliss’ (2011) and ‘Pandora’ (2013).”

Jamie Fernando of New York, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union: Jamie worked in the luggage department at Macy’s on 34th Street. He passed away on April 3, 2020. He was a member of RWDSU Local 1-S for 26 years, working his way through various departments at Macy’s. Devoted to his church, Jamie died at the age of 62.

Alan Finder of New York, The NewsGuild-CWA: Alan was a member of TNG-CWA Local 31003 who worked at The New York Times.

Omara Flores of the Bronx, New York, School Administrators: Flores was an assistant principal at PS95 in the Bronx. “When this whole thing started, I said to her, ‘Stay home, please,'” Her husband Elvin said. “She said, ‘I can’t. My students need me; my teachers need me. I have to be there.’ That was her dedication. She loved God and her family and the 95 community and everyone loved her.”

Tolbert Furr of Newark, New Jersey, Amalgamated Transit Union: He served as a member of the Executive Board of ATU Local 819. He joined ATU in 1985 after becoming a Newark Light Rail Operator. He retired in 2019.

Manuel Garcia of New York, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union: Manuel  was a food service worker for Suffolk County Community College/Aramark at the SCCC-Brentwood Campus. He had been member of RWDSU Local 1102 since 2017 when he started work at SCCC/Aramark. He leaves behind his 3-year-old daughter, his mother and a sister.

Garrett Goble of New York, Transport Workers: “A viewing will be held [April 3] for hero Train Operator Garrett Goble, who gave his life serving the people of New York City.”

Lev Golubov of New York, Transport Workers: “The Local 100 Car Equipment Department has lost its second union brother to the coronavirus scourge. Road Car Inspector Lev Golubov, 58, died on April 5, 2020 after being hospitalized with the virus on March 24. He had seven years on the job at Corona Barn.”

Annie Grant of Camilla, Georgia, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union: Grant worked on the poultry line as an essential worker at the Tyson poultry plant in Camilla, Georgia. She worked at the plant for 13 years and passed on April 7. 

Tony Greer of New York, CWA: Greer was a member of CWA Local 51016 who worked for ABC at “Good Morning America” as a cameraman. Anchor Robin Roberts said: “He was such a bright light working at our studio for more than six years. You could just feel Tony’s beautiful spirit, you could feel it from a mile away. We love Tony and so many things that he loved. He loved his family, his beloved mother Fanny, his sister Janet, his brother Kevin. He loved taking his nieces, nephews, any relative who came to visit him, he’d take them out and show them the city. He loved his longtime girlfriend Robin, we are thinking of her.”

Gerald Hall of Detroit, Michigan, CWA: Gerald was a member of CWA Local 4100, who worked at AT&T.

Joseph Hansen of Newark, New Jersey, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers. He worked as a conductor for New Jersey transit and was a 20-year SMART Transportation Division member out of Local 60. Jerome Johnson, president of Local 60, said: “Brother Hansen’s 20 years of service was exemplary. He was the consummate professional, a loving husband, father and grandfather. He will be greatly missed.”

Jason Hargrove of Detroit, Michigan, Amalgamated Transit Union: Passed after coming in contact with an infected person on his bus route. He posted in a video before his passing: “Ya’ll need to take this serious. This is real.”

Martin Harris of Scarsdale, New York, Letter Carriers: “NALC is saddened to learn that 51-year-old letter carrier Martin Harris, a member of Branch 693, passed away April 5 from complications related to COVID-19. Brother Harris, a 23-year letter carrier, worked in Scarsdale, N.Y. NALC President Fredric Rolando said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the loss of Brother Harris. All of NALC mourns his loss, and we send our sympathies and heartfelt thoughts and prayers to his loved ones.'”

Ernesto Hernandez of New York, Transport Workers: Transit Authority Surface Vice President J.P. Patafio called Hernandez “a kind man who was loved and respected by his co-workers and [he was a] hard worker. His death is a shock to us all.”

Mary Holt of Camilla, Georgia, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union: Holt worked on the poultry line as an essential worker at the Tyson poultry plant in Camilla, Georgia. Holt dedicated 27 years working at the facility. She passed away April 6. 

Araceli Buendia Ilagan of Miami, nurses union, SEIU: Roy Buendia said: “My dearest sister, we admired you for your dedication on your profession….You’re a true ‘hero’ in this fight against COVID-19.”

Anick Jesdanun of New York, TNG-CWA: Jesdanun was a member of TNG-CWA Local 31222 who worked for the Associated Press as a technology writer. “For more than two decades, Jesdanun helped generations of readers understand the emerging internet and its impact on the world. And while his work may have been about screens and computers and virtual networks, Jesdanun’s large life was about the world and exploring all of the corners of it that he could, virtual and physical alike.”

ARon Jordan of Boyd County, Kentucky, Bricklayers: “Sarah Jordan wants you to know her father’s name. She wants you to know his face. She wants you to know that the father of seven—and grandfather to seven more—had a kind heart, an unrelenting sense of humor and a passion for glam-bands like KISS. She wants you to know he loved his wife and their home in Ashland, Kentucky. Most importantly, Sarah Jordan wants you to know that her dad, ARon Jordan, just 49 years old and in otherwise good health, died Tuesday after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.”

Leilani Jordan of Largo, Maryland, United Food and Commercial Workers: “Jordan’s mother, Zenobia Shepherd, tried to explain the risks of working. But she said Jordan, who had a disability that caused ‘cognitive delays,’ impaired her vision and left her reliant on a service dog, probably did not fully understand the potential dangers of the coronavirus. And her daughter’s desire to help others, Shepherd said, was overpowering.”

McMillan Kihamahana of Colorado, Bricklayers: Bricklayers Mountain West ADC posted: “Thank you doesn’t express how grateful we are to this brother for his service and dedication to his union and its industries. For always being committed to growing the unionized masonry-trowel trades industry for current and future generations. Our thoughts and prayers are with Brother Kihamahana’s family and friends. This was such unnecessary loss. COVID-19 has taken away a dear friend, brother and family man. Our hearts are broken.”

Rakkhon Kim of New Jersey, National Association of Letter Carriers: “NALC is deeply saddened to learn that 50-year-old letter carrier Rakkhon Kim, a member of Branch 36 in New York City, passed away Wednesday, March 25, from complications related to COVID-19. Brother Kim was a resident of Northvale, New Jersey, and he worked at the West Farms Station of the Bronx, New York, Post Office. He recently celebrated his 23-year anniversary as a letter carrier in November.”

Ronald A. Langley of Bonita Springs, Florida, IFPTE: Ronald performed submarine maintenance at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and was a bargaining unit member of IFPTE Local 4. He served in the military with distinction and was due to retire in May, 2020.  He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Donna (Mailloux) Langley; two daughters, Sheri Williams and Melissa Saint Cyr; one son, Jordan Langley; seven grandchildren, and one sister, Nancy Langley.

Frank Leong of New York City, National Association of Letter Carriers: “Sixty-three-year-old letter carrier Frank Leong, a member of Branch 36 in New York City, passed away recently from complications related to COVID-19. Brother Leong was a 25-year letter carrier who worked at the Church Street Station in Manhattan. NALC mourns with Brother Leong’s family, friends, co-workers and members of Branch 36.”

Lydia Lopez of Saginaw, Michigan, Machinists: Lydia, 63, was a healthcare worker at the Samaritas Senior Living Center in Saginaw and member of IAM Local 218. “Sister Lopez is a true American hero—like all healthcare and frontline workers, regardless of title, during this distressing and devastating time who are serving to protect all of us, especially those who are most vulnerable, like residents of senior care facilities,” said IAM District 60 Assistant Directing Business Representative Jeff McLeod.

Joseph Madore of Rocky Hill, Connecticut, Amalgamated Transit Union: Madore, a member for two years, was a paratransit operator for First Transit.

Ellis Marsalis of New Orleans, American Federation of Musicians: Marsalis was a pianist and educator who put four musician sons on a path toward successful careers in music as well as teaching many students over decades. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said: “Ellis Marsalis was a legend. He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz.”

Robert Moody of Queens, New York, CWA: Robert was a member of CWA Local 1180 who worked for the New York City Police Department of Environmental Protection as a mail room supervisor.

Foster Moore of New York, Transport Workers: The “union mourns CTA Foster Moore. Brother Moore had 26 years on the job and most recently worked the 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. shift at the Cortlandt Street station, which had been destroyed when the towers fell on 911.”

Joe Morton of Page, Arizona, UFCW: “The officers and staff of UFCW Local 99 join family members and co-workers in mourning the loss of Joseph Morton, a beloved union steward and food clerk at Safeway 249 in Page, Arizona. Joe passed away at the age of 50 due to complications from COVID-19. He was a loyal and active union member since 1993. As a Local 99 steward, he assisted in recruiting members for the Union. Joe recognized the power the Union could provide for workers and their families. Outside of work, he loved to travel and attend baseball games. ‘Joe was a good man, he rarely missed a meeting, even driving from Page to Phoenix and back home in the same day just so he could go to work, to make sure he was fighting for his Union,’ said President Jim McLaughlin. ‘His loss points to the tragic costs of the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthens our resolve to protect other workers from the same fate.'”

Patrick Patoir of Coney Island, New York, Transport Workers: TWU Local 100 Vice President Shirley Martin, who worked with Patoir for 29 years: “Patrick was one of the most beautiful souls I have ever known. He was always the first to help. If you wanted something done, ask Patrick. Everyone at Pitkin is in mourning. Many of his co-workers where in tears when they found out.” Patrick’s brother, Wendell, is a Machinist at the Coney Island Wheel and Axle Shop. Patrick leaves behind his grieving wife and four children.

Peter Petrassi of Long Island City, New York, Transport Workers: Interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg said: “Our hearts are absolutely broken. Peter was a vital member of our team, and a valued friend. We are honored to have worked with him, and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.”

Querubin “Sonny” Quitlong of Seattle, Washington, NPMHU: “It is with regret and sorrow that the National Union announces the passing of Seattle Processing and Distribution Center Mail Handler Querubin ‘Sonny’ Quitlong. Sonny began working at the USPS as a part-time regular on April 6, 1994. For decades Sonny also worked full-time as at Safeway before becoming full time at the USPS. Sonny was very active in his community including serving as Vice President and President of the Filipino American Association of Certified Public Accountants. He loved attending cultural festivals and was devoted to his church where he served as lector. Sonny is survived by his loving wife Zenaida and many devoted nieces and nephews Sonny will be remembered as being a hard worker, career long union member, and he was a pleasure to work with.”

Isaac Robinson of Detroit, Teamsters: Robinson served the state of Michigan as a representative in the Metro Detroit area. Prior to contracting the virus, he led the fight in Wayne County to protect the most vulnerable from the outbreak. He called for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, formed a Coronavirus Urban Response and Workers’ Rights task force, and fought for utility rights.

Agustin Rodriguez of Sioux Falls, North Dakota, United Food and Commercial Workers: “I’m sad to inform you that today at noon we lost our Union Brother, Agustin Rodriguez. Agustin was a member of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 304A and an employee at Smithfield foods in Sioux Falls. He was 64.”

Dez-Ann Romain of Brooklyn, New York, School Administrators: Allison Farrington, principal of Research and Service High School in Brooklyn, said: “She loved her kids, she loved her community, she loved service. You could see it in how she and her students would look at each other. I can’t imagine what they are dealing with now.”

Scott Ryan of Everett, Washington, Amalgamated Transit Union: ATU International President John Costa said: “The tragic reality of this devastating and deadly pandemic has now taken the life of one of our own. I hope the entire continent will join us in a moment of silence tonight at 7:10 p.m. ET to remember Local 1576 shop steward Scott Ryan, who was just 41 years old. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Brother Ryan and his sisters and brothers of Local 1576 in Lynnwood, Washington.”

Steve Rybkin of New York, Transport Workers: “Local 100 President Tony Utano offered his condolences to the family and Brother Rybkin’s friends and co-workers on the job. ‘Every death of one of our Brother and Sister Transit Workers from this terrible disease gets more and more difficult to comprehend.  With Thursday being Passover and Holy Thursday, and Sunday being Easter, I am hoping that this week will be the beginning of the end of this fight.'”

Caridad Santiago of New York, Transport Workers: IB ImageStations Division Vice President Lynwood Whichard said Santiago’s passing is a “terrible loss to the Local 100 family. She was a wonderful mother, loved by everyone. We are all praying for her family to get through this time of grief.”

John Schoffstall of Terre Haute, Indiana, Fire Fighters: Schoffstall, 41, was closing in on his 12th year at the Terre Haute Fire Department. He was assigned to Station 5, C-shift, and worked as part of the support truck crew. Terre Haute Fire Chief Jeff Fisher said: “I’m kind of at a loss for words because I was not prepared for this. John’s condition had been improving and we were hoping for a different kind of parade. He will be sadly missed, but his memory will live with the department for a long time.”

Noel Sinkiat of Olney, Maryland, National Nurses United: Sinkiat was a member of the District of Columbia Nurses Association/NNU who worked as an RN at Howard University Medical Center. Sinnkiat’s wife, Lourdes Gerardo, said: “A lot of people there at Howard really loved him. He was a very good nurse.”

Anthony Smith of Detroit, Michigan, NPMHU: “Brother Smith worked in the Detroit NDC and was an employee of the United States Postal Service for thirty years. He was a proud mail handler.     Anthony was a veteran having served honorably in the Army for 12 years. He was married and loved kids; he helped raise 15 children. Anthony loved music, a good barbeque and singing karaoke. He was a funny man that enjoyed telling jokes and spending time with family and friends. Anthony Smith will be deeply missed by family, friends and all that knew him. Please keep Brother Smith’s family and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”

Marvin Snowden of Austin, Texas, Amalgamated Transit Union: He was a master mechanic for MV Transportation, Capital Metro and a member of ATU Local 1091 since 2003. His wife is also a member of Local 1091.

Richard Stewart-Johnson of New York, Communications Workers of America: Richard worked as a parking production assistant in New York. He also was a musician and actor who worked on movies like “Crackdown Big City Blues” and “The Prince of Tides.”

Virgil Sutton, Gaston County, North Carolina, UAW: UAW Local 5286 President Scott McAllister said: “I not only lost one of my childhood friends, but a UAW Local 5286 brother. Please keep Virgil Sutton’s family and friends in your prayers! Rest in peace, my brother, you will be so missed by so many.”

Johnny Tamayo of Pasadena, Texas, Letter Carriers: “NALC is deeply saddened to learn that 69-year-old letter carrier Johnny Tamayo, a member of Branch 3867 in Pasadena, Texas, passed away Saturday, April 4, from complications related to coronavirus. Brother Tamayo worked at the Delbert L. Atkinson Station of the Pasadena Post Office. Last May, he celebrated his 50-year anniversary as a letter carrier. ‘On behalf of the NALC, we mourn the loss of Brother Tamayo,’ NALC President Fredric Rolando said. ‘He spent his entire adult life serving this nation as a letter carrier. We send our deepest sympathies and heartfelt prayers to Johnny’s family, loved ones, friends, co-workers, and customers.'”

Vianna Thompson of Reno, Nevada, AFGE: “Vianna Thompson, 52, was a registered nurse at the VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System in Reno, Nevada. She died Tuesday, April 7, of complications from COVID-19. She was a veteran and member of AFGE Local 2152.” AFGE National President Everett Kelley said: “On behalf of the 700,000 workers AFGE represents, I extend my deepest condolences to the families of Roy Coleman and Vianna Thompson. Their avoidable and untimely deaths highlight the risks facing front-line health care providers and other mission-critical workers every day—and the scandalous lack of action to keep these workers safe.”

Warren Tucker of New York, Transport Workers: IB ImageStations MTA Bus Vice President Peter Rosconi said that Tucker’s passing was “tough to take. All of MTA is in mourning.” Division Vice Chair Mike Capocci said, “He was such a sweetheart. This is such a shame.”

David Veloz of Chicago, Machinists: “Veloz, 64, served as foreman and machinist at a building-maintenance division for the city of Chicago. Veloz, a U.S. Navy veteran, was an active union member and a delegate to the Chicago Federation of Labor. He was described as a strong advocate for workers’ rights and protections. ‘I was talking to him right up through when he was put into the hospital. Always thinking about his fellow workers. He was just that kind of guy. It’s a terrible loss for us as an organization and as an individual,’ said IAM Local 126 Business Representative Ryan Kelly.”

Josh Wallwork of New York, IATSE: Josh, 45, was a member of IATSE Local 764 and worked as a set consumer at “Law & Order: SVU” and “Madam Secretary.” He also had a great love of photography and designing and building Renaissance Costumes. SVU star Mariska Hargitay tweeted:”heartbroken to hear of Josh Wallwork’s passing. I never saw him without a smile on his face.” Josh is survived by his family and his partner, Abdul Quadir.

Elton Washington of Everett, Washington, Machinists: Elton’s son, E.J., wrote of his father: “My dad loved his family and friends but he really loved my mom. That was his best friend, and I know that he’s back with her and they’re both watching me.”

Richard Weber Jr. of New York, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union: Richard worked full-time in the suit department at the Macy’s Herald Square flagship store. A member of RWDSU Local 1-S, Richard had 10 years of service with the company. He had a law degree and a love for the fashion industry. He passed away on March 18, 2020. He was 57 years old. 

Franklin D. Williams of Detroit, Michigan, Fire Fighters: “The coronavirus has claimed the life of Detroit Fire Department Capt. Franklin D. Williams, Jr. The 58-year-old is the first member of the city’s fire department to die from the coronavirus, which has killed more than 250 Detroiters and 959 Michigan residents. Williams, who was on a ventilator, was an active member of the fire department’s Ladder 18.”

Elose Willis of Camilla, Georgia, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union: Willis served as Secretary of Local 938, representing poultry workers at Tyson in Camilla, Georgia. She was a member of the RWDSU and worked at the facility for 35 years. She passed away due to COVID-19 on April 1. 

Four autoworkers (names withheld), UAW: UAW President Rory Gamble: “Sadly, with every one of these messages I write, there is always tragic news to deliver. Today, we lost a committee person at the FCA Warren [Michigan] Stamping Plant; a member who worked at AK Steel in Dearborn, Michigan; a brother from GT Technologies in Toledo, Ohio, and a sister who worked at the Department of Corrections in Detroit, Michigan.”

An autoworker (name withheld) from Wayne, Michigan, UAW: President Rory Gamble said: “I’m very sad to report that we had one more UAW member fall to the virus yesterday, from Ford Michigan Assembly in Wayne, Michigan. I want to extend our sincere sympathies to family and friends.”

An autoworker (name withheld) from Sterling Heights, Michigan, UAW: Gamble said: “Today, I am so sorry to report that one of our members at FCA Transport in Sterling Heights, Michigan, has died from the virus. I, along with Vice President Cindy Estrada and the entire International Executive Board extend our heartfelt sympathies and prayers to our dear brother’s family and friends.”

Two autoworkers (names withheld) from Dearborn, Michigan, UAW: Gamble said: “We have been notified today that two more members of our UAW family have fallen to the virus. One member worked at Ford Motor Company’s Dearborn Stamping [plant] and a skilled trades brother who worked at the Ford Data Center in Dearborn, Michigan. Our prayers and support go out to their families and communities.”

A bus driver (name withheld) from Santa Cruz, California, AFSCME: The member was in his 60s who worked at the University of California-Santa Cruz. He was a member of AFSCME Local 3299. Local 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger said: “This morning, we learned that we had lost one of our valued union brothers, a devoted father and grandfather who was equally beloved by his colleagues and students at UC-Santa Cruz. Our hearts are heavy, and go out to his family and all who are suffering due to COVID 19.”

A machinist from Chicago (name withheld) “An IAM Local 48 (District 8) member passed away on April 6, 2020. The member was a 15-year machinist at the Chicago Transit Authority. The family has asked that the name of the member not be released publicly.”

April 16, 2020

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