Today, April 28th, we honor all US and Canadian workers who have been killed or seriously injured on the job. Vigils will be held to honor workers as we continue to make the workplace safer.
This is the 22nd Annual Worker’s Memorial Day, a date chosen since it is the anniversary of the effective date of the US Occupational Safety and Health Act – 40 years ago today. In 1984, this date was officially declared by the Canadian Labour Congress as an annual day of remembrance and in December 1990, this day became a national observance with the passing of the Workers Mourning Day Act, so that on April 28, 1991, it was officially recognized by the Canadian government and made the Canadian National Day of Mourning.
This week the AFL-CIO released a report finding job safety laws must be improved. In 2009, it is estimated that 4,340 workers were killed on the job, an average of 12 workers a day and an estimated 50,000 died of occupational diseases. The full report can be downloaded from this site, which has further information on this day’s events.
The IAFF, the AFL-CIO and the CLC encourage union members to get involved and organize actions, activities, or observances in the workplace or the community to highlight the toll of job injuries and deaths and to demand better job safety protections.
As union members and families, we will mourn and honor those we lost on the job, but we must and we will fight back against the attacks on worker rights and protections.