Every day, millions of Americans leave their homes and families to go to work. Sadly, 12 of them will not return to their loved ones due to a work place fatality. 12 a day, when even one death is unacceptable.
On April 28th of each year, Worker Memorial Day is observed throughout the United States and the world. Across the country, workers, union and non-union alike, take time to honor those who have perished or have been injured on the job.
In the U.S. this date was chosen to commemorate the enactment of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) in 1971. While OSHA has made great strides over the decades to improve worker safety, there is still a great amount of work to be done to ensure all workers return home safely.
Even with OSHA’s oversight, each day thousands of unscrupulous employers skirt the law when it comes to the safety of their employees. Whether it is intentional negligence or through ignorance does not matter. It’s the law. The solutions are simple. If you are an employer, get compliant. If you are an employee working in unsafe conditions, speak up.
This year on Worker Memorial Day, do your part to honor all workers. In the immortal words of Mother Jones, please join us to “mourn for the dead and fight like hell for the living.”
John F. Penn
LIUNA Vice President and Midwest Regional Manager