Every year on April 28—Workers’ Memorial Day—UFCW Local 700 joins workers in the U.S. and around the world to remember those who have suffered or died on the workplace and renew the fight for safe and healthy jobs.
While decades of struggle by workers and their unions have resulted in significant workplace safety laws, including the passage of the mine safety law and the Occupational Safety and Health Act, too many workers in the U.S. and around the world are suffering or dying on the job. Here in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 4,600 workers lost their lives on the job in 2014 alone, and millions of America’s workers continue to suffer from injuries and illnesses at work. Women, older workers, and temporary and foreign-born workers are especially at-risk.
Although the Obama Administration has taken action to strengthened safety and health protections, including a new rule to protect workers from deadly silica, stronger whistleblower protections for workers who report job injuries, and OSHA’s new severe injury reporting program, Republican lawmakers and their corporate backers are trying to roll back existing protections and rights and block new safeguards. Republican lawmakers are also supporting right to work laws, which make it harder for unions to bargain for workplace safety protections, along with the better wages and benefits hard-working men and women have earned and deserve. In addition to political obstacles, our country’s growing wealth gap and low-wage, part-time economy has emboldened many employers to cut corners, violate workplace safety laws, put workers in serious danger, and punish those workers who report job hazards or injuries.
On Workers’ Memorial Day and every day, UFCW Local 700 stands with workers in the U.S. and around the world who are fighting to uphold their basic rights – including the right to report dangerous workplace conditions without retaliation and the right to join a union for a safer and healthier workplace. All hard-working men and women deserve a safe place to work, and those politicians and corporations that weaken work safety laws and exploit workers for profit and put them in danger must be held accountable.