On April 28, 2015, the labor movement will once again observe Workers Memorial Day to remember workers who have been killed or injured on the job and to renew the fight for strong safety and health protections.
Four decades ago, Congress passed the Occupational Safetly and Health Act, promising every worker the right to a safe job. Our allies have fought hard to make that promise a reality winning protections that have made jobs safer, saved hundreds of thousands of lives and prevented millions of workplace injuries and illnesses.
Each year thousands of workers are killed and millions more injured or diseased because of their jobs. Many job hazards are unregulated and uncontrolled. Some employers cut corners and violate the law, putting workers in serious danger and costing lives. Workers who report job hazards or job injuries are fired or disiplined. At the same time, workers’ wages are stagnant and inequality is growing.
In the last few years there has been a strengthing of protections with tougher enforcement and a focus on workers’ rights. Much needed safeguards on silica and other workplace hazards have been proposed and are close to being finalized.
We must not fail to protect workplace safety.
President, Upper Ohio Valley Central Labor Council AFL-CIO