April 29, 2015
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—More than one year ago William Pena was killed when a stolen truck slammed into the bus he was driving in the West Village. Pena’s fellow labor brothers and sisters and safety advocates commemorated his death and other New York City workers who died on the job last year.
The New York City Central Labor Council, in conjunction with the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, organized the event in honor of Workers’ Memorial Day, which is an annual celebration to remember workers killed, disabled or injured on the job.
In the accompanying video, we interviewed some of William Pena’s family members at the corner of 14th Street and 7th Avenue, the exact corner where Mr. Pena’s bus was struck on February 12, 2014. Also joining the family for the interview was LaTonya Crisp-Sauray, recording secretary for Transport Workers Union Local 100, and the Pena family’s attorney, Sanford Rubenstein.
Ms. Crisp-Sauray said that it was important for all of New York City’s organized labor members to remember what happened to Mr. Pena more than one year ago.
“Today we come together under the [NYC] Central Labor Council to say that we deserve to work in a safe environment and it doesn’t stop when somebody passes away. Safety is a continual fight and we’re here to bond together to make sure that happens,” said Crisp-Sauray.
It wasn’t easy to ask Mr. Pena’s partner, Nancy Rodriquez, about what it was like to return to the scene where Mr. Pena died, but she said although it was very emotional to be there, it was important to keep fighting for safety on the job.
“It’s very emotional, being this is where his life was taken, but that he’s being honored in a special way is very important. Also, we’re fighting to continue to avoid this from happening to others; if we can save another life that means we’re sending out an amazing message,” said Rodriquez.