Founder of USMWF, Tammy Miser provides a virtual kitchen table for other family members in the same situation. It seemed unimaginable to her that with 6,000 or so workers in the dying on-the-job every year, there were no organizations to provide support and guidance to the family members left behind? There are advocacy groups for many different issues, yet not one for individuals personally devastated because their loved one was simply going to work to pursue the American dream, but they would never come home again because they died on the job? Not only will they never see their loved one again but often times, they are left financially strapped, and/or faced with grieving children who are fearful for anyone they love going to work. Tammy’s personal experience losing a loved one and her performance to-date with USMWF demonstrate her qualifications.
In November 2007, USMWF was recognized by the Occupational Health and Safety Section of the American Public Health Association with the Tony Mazzocchi Award. This distinction recognizes grassroots activists fighting for the health and safety rights of workers. It is named after Mr. Tony Mazzocchi, an influential labor leader who played a key role in legislative struggles including the passage of the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, and dedicated his life to securing workers’ health and safety rights. Most recently, USMWF’s founder, Tammy Miser, testified on March 12, 2008 at a hearing of the House of Representatives’ Education and Labor Committee on “The Combustible Dust Explosion and Fire Prevention Act of 2008” (H.R. 5522); the bill passed the House of Representatives on April 30, 2008 by a 247-165 vote. Ms. Miser has also been interviewed and quoted in local and national newspapers and magazines, including an April 30, 2008 article in The Nation and the March 24, 2008 issue of Chemical & Engineering News. Finally, the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes aired a segment entitled “Is Enough Done to Stop Explosive Dust” (June 7, 2008) which featured Ms. Miser. The program focused on the February 2008 explosion at the Imperial Sugar Refinery, which fatally burned 13 workers, and highlighted the deficiencies in our federal and state workplace hazard prevention programs. Tammy Miser shared her experience as a family-member victim who, like thousands of others across the U.S., suffer profoundly because of our nation’s inadequate regulatory system to protect workers’ fundamental right to places of employment that do not cause death, injury or disease.