From guest blogger Maggie Marley, Community Engagement Labor Liaison:
Today, April 28 is Workers’ Memorial Day, a day when we formally take a moment to remember and honor those men and women who have been injured, made ill or killed in the course of their work. It is a day to reflect and to renew the fight for workplace safety for all.
Although there have been improvements in workplace safety throughout the years, there is still much work be done. The labor movement has fought for such rights as the forty-hour work week, child labor laws and workplace safety. Nearly 50 years ago OSHA was formed and has made great strides toward improved working conditions and with the passage of whistleblower laws helped protect workers’ rights to speak up about unsafe working conditions.
This year, many Workers’ Memorial Day events are being suspended or held remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic. When we think of dangerous jobs, some are obvious like police officers, fire and EMT personnel, our military, nurses and doctors. We know that construction workers, shipbuilders, fishermen and miners also have dangerous jobs – just to name a few. Now more than ever we owe our thanks and gratitude to them and so many others. Each and every day people are working to make it possible for us to work remotely and be home and social distance. They are our farmers, grocery store clerks, postal workers, truck drivers, utility workers, shipping clerks, pharmacy techs, restaurant workers, and food pantry and school food service staff.
Please take a moment today to pray for all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Keep those working in harm’s way in your thoughts and prayers. If you get a chance, thank them for their efforts. Most of all, know that safe jobs save lives – so continue to fight for health and safety rights for all. We are in this together. For more information on Workers’ Memorial go to https://aflcio.org/about-us/conferences-and-events/workers-memorial-day.