Around Michigan, working people, local officials and community members are commemorating Workers Memorial Day on Tuesday, April 28th, honoring workers who have died or suffered illness or injuries while on the job. For weeks now, labor-community activists have worked with local elected officials to recognize Workers Memorial Day, passing over a dozen resolutions through local government bodies, and honoring workers through virtual events, park dedications, and other creative avenues.
Fifty years ago, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, promising every worker the right to a safe job. Ever since, working people have fought to gain necessary health and safety rules that have saved precious lives and prevented injuries and illness on the job.
Since the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act over 606,000 lives have been saved, but many workers remain in serious danger. In 2018, 5,250 workers lost their lives from job-related traumatic injuries, and an estimated 95,000 died from occupational diseases. This year, thousands more workers’ lives are being lost to COVID-19, in many cases because workers are not getting necessary protections at work – which would save lives and stop the spread of this very contagious virus.
“Since the start of this crisis, labor unions have been working to make sure that we implement strong guidelines so that we’re keeping people safe at work during this crisis and in the future, and not endangering families when they return home,” said Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Every American has the right to a safe and healthy workplace. Hardworking men and women are putting in long hours to protect our communities and deserve to know that they’re going to make it home at the end of the day.”