A nationally-recognized advocate for workers health and safety rights, Dr. James M. Melius, died on Jan. 1 in Copake Falls, NY.
Dr. Jim, as he was known, was the current research director at the New York State Tri-Funds Administrator and Laborers' Health and Safety Fund of North America.
“Armand, Ray, and I have lost a dear friend and devoted colleague," said Terry O'Sullivan,general president, Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA), in a statement. "Jim was a true working class warrior who valued hard work and those that do it, and who knew that working men and women are our nation's greatest assets. He will be sorely missed by all who were fortunate enough to have known and worked with him."
One of the architects of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, Melius passed away at age 69 of cardiac arrest.
He held a wide range of leadership and advisory positions was published in numerous scientific and medical journals and received many industry awards and helped create the National Construction Safety and Health Research Program. He assisted the men and women of LIUNA for 24 years as well as other building trades unions and the International Association of Firefighters.
Described as a “passionate advocate for workplace safety and health,” Melius played a primary role in the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, the federal law that established an extensive program of medical monitoring and health care services for first responders, volunteers and survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
He also worked to protect workers from exposure to asbestos and other dangerous toxins on work sites, and to ensure that those who developed diseases as a result of those exposures got the care they needed and deserved.
Melius is survived by his wife, Melanie, and two sons, Jeremy and Ehren.
A memorial service is being planned for Monday, March 26 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.