Workers Memorial Day

Four UAW members perished in workplace incidents

All workplace fatalities are avoidable. Through the collective bargaining process, we seek to make our workplaces safer and often negotiate stronger protections for our members than is required by federal, state and local laws and guidelines.

We do this because all workers should leave their workplace in the same health as when they arrived for work.

These deaths serve as a reminder of the dangers of working alone, that team leaders’ duties and lean manufacturing objectives must be coupled with proper regard to safety, that malfunctioning or poorly designed machine guarding and presence-sensing devices must be reported to management and be promptly addressed. We must also do more to ensure that new safe working procedures are in place when maintenance tasks create new hazards.

As we approach Workers Memorial Day on April 28, we know we have much more work ahead of us. Four UAW members died in workplace incidents since Workers Memorial  Day 2015. We mourn the loss of these members and send our condolences to their loved ones and coworkers.


UAW fatalities in the workplace April 28, 2015 –Feb. 29, 2016


May 5, 2015
Donald Megge, 53, millwright, Jefferson North Fiat Chrysler Assembly, Local 7, Detroit.

Brother Megge was cleaning a filter press used to remove solids from waste water when he was crushed between filter plates. Root causes included disconnected presence- sensing devices, faulty circuits and working alone.


May 6, 2015
Lee Duncan, 41, team leader, Jefferson North Fiat Chrysler Assembly, Local 7, Detroit.

Brother Duncan was re-installing rear fascia on vehicles in a remote location. He was pushed by the vehicle conveyor and struck a metal locker head first. The medical examiner has stated that the force of the blow lead  to severe brain trauma. He died immediately.


Jan. 22, 2016
Catherine White, 51, team leader, Carlex Glass America, Local 737, Nashville, Tennessee.

Sister White was cleaning the ink applicator used to date stamp windshields. A shuttle that picks up auto glass and moves it to a robot pick point activated, trapping her head between a shuttle rail and the conveyor.  The crush point was not guarded. There was no lockout procedure in use. She was pronounced dead at the scene.


Feb. 2, 2016
Terry Bodenbender, electrician, General Motors Foundry, Local 211, Defiance, Ohio.

During the afternoon of Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources health and safety leadership were notified that a serious injury incident had occurred. Information obtained indicated that sometime at approximately 12:15 p.m. an accident had occurred while two employees  were  troubleshooting a 15-ton crane. Employee Terry Bodenbender had sustained a fatal injury due to a fall from heights. He sustained severe blunt-force trauma injuries to his upper torso and skull. He succumbed to his injuries Feb. 2, 2016 at the accident scene.