March 22, 2011

Union joins in DOT Worker Memorial ceremony to remember the 59 who've died on the job since 1950

The Federation joined with Department of Transportation workers and families of fallen DOT workers Tuesday at the annual DOT Worker Memorial ceremony at agency headquarters in Olympia.

Betty Rhynalds, widow of Local 378 member Billy Rhynalds, killed on the job in January, thanked the agency and the families of other fallen workers.

“There was not one day that he did not want to be part of the community or a department (where) he was helping others,” she said.

Agency officials said they should break ground on a permanent WSDOT Worker Memorial adjacent to headquarters soon. The National Work Zone Memorial Wall was part of the ceremony.

Those in attendance were encouraged to contribute to the new WSDOT Memorial Foundation to remember the fallen, care for DOT retirees and help family members left behind. The Federation recently contributed $2,012 to the foundation -- $1 for each of the union’s 2,012 DOT members. We have a link on our website at or go directly to the foundation’s website at

“We simply can’t lose any more DOT workers,” said Federation President Carol Dotlich. “They are vital to our state. But more importantly, they are husbands and wives, dads and moms and sons and daughters. The impact on the families left behind is the most tragic outcome.

“In the words of Mother Jones, we mourn the dead, but we will fight like hell for the living.”

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