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WNY Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO Statement on Death, Wounding of Buffalo Sewer Authority Workers

WNYALF President Peter De Jesús Jr.
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BUFFALO, New York – Western New York Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO President Peter De Jesús Jr. released the following statement regarding the death of Keyshawn Gault and the wounding of Myron Walker and Lamar Whitfield, Jr., all Buffalo Sewer Authority workers represented by Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1186:

“For our union brother, Keyshawn Gault, we mourn a light and life taken from our community too soon. He was a young man with hope and a lifetime ahead of him, and our hearts break that his family, co-workers, and community have seen that promise cut short. 

“To brother Lamar Whitfield Jr., who remains in critical condition, and brother Myron Walker, who is now stable thanks to the care of the staff at ECMC, we grieve with you and offer our deepest sympathies for the trauma and loss you have endured. 

“It should not and cannot be that workers endure this type of violence with the regularity we continue to see in Buffalo and across the country. From the racist attack on shoppers and Tops workers on 5/14 to the horrific mass murder of 18 people in Maine, to the senseless attack on three of our Buffalo Sewer Authority workers, and every similar incident that has plagued us in between, we cannot allow this pattern of death and harm to our communities continue. Let me say plainly and clearly: Every worker deserves to return home to their family at the end of the day. Every leader with their head in the sand, pretending this epidemic is a string of one-offs, must muster the courage to do their job or get out of the way.

“As is our practice after tragedies like this one, we encourage workers to take full advantage of the benefits and resources available to them in and out of their workplaces under their collective bargaining agreements. The trauma they have endured is real, and they must not face any stigma or resistance in their pursuit of healing and peace. We encourage them to access all mental health resources available through their healthcare plan, take time off for self and family care, and communicate with their union stewards about their wellbeing at work.”

The Western New York Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, represents approximately 145,000 union members across six counties and five Central Labor Councils. Our mission is to improve the lives of and increase the power of working families, bring fairness and dignity to the workplace, and secure social equity. More information is available at

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