April 28th is Workers Memorial Day in which we remember the workers that have died in the line of duty, either by accident or by occupational diseases.
Per the AFL-CIO, in 2020, 4,764 people died in the line of duty and another 120,000 people died from occupational diseases. That comes to an average of 340 US workers that have died due to hazardous work conditions every single day.
From Stephanie Bloomingdale, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO:
“On Workers Memorial Day, working people will come together at observances in Wisconsin to honor workers killed and injured on the job and to call for action on workplace hazards that cause unnecessary injury, illness, and death,” said Stephanie Bloomindale, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. “As union workers, we continue the fight for stronger protections for all their workplaces and for stronger laws and better enforcement to hold employers accountable when they do not keep workers safe. A safe job is every worker’s right and the labor movement will fight until that promise is fulfilled.”
Each year, thousands of workers are killed and millions more suffer injury or illness because of our jobs. Far too many workers die from preventable hazards and many more workers become ill from exposure to toxic chemicals at work.
“Workers need protections from infectious diseases, heat illness, workplace violence, silica exposures in mining, exposure to asbestos and other toxic chemicals, and other hazards,” continued Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Bloomingdale. “The labor movement will continue to work to strengthen OSHA and MSHA, increase their budgets and improve enforcement, and ensure that workers have safe jobs.”
Making this day even more significant is the ongoing peril from COVID-19 and employers who are unwilling to provide reasonable safeguards to help keep workers as safe as possible.
It is more significant with the increase of unionization across the country, ranging from the big companies like Amazon and Starbucks to the smaller local companies that employ only a few dozen people. Hopefully as this movement continues to grow and more people gain their voices regarding their safety in the work place, things will start getting better and there will be fewer people we mourn next year.
For information about commemorations of the holiday in your area, please contact your friendly local union hall.
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