Recognizing Workers Memorial Day and Advocating for Safe Workplaces

Workers Memorial Day, observed on April 28, is a day for remembering the workers who have died or suffered injuries and illnesses on the job. It’s also a time to reinforce our commitment to ensuring safe working environments for everyone. Despite its importance, this day might not be familiar to all, making it vital for us to share and educate others about its significance.

Just days before Workers Memorial Day, the AFL-CIO released its alarming “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect” report, highlighting significant safety challenges faced by workers of color. The report reveals that Black workers are experiencing the highest job fatality rates seen in nearly 15 years, and Latino workers are at a disproportionately higher risk than their peers. The complete report can be accessed HERE, offering detailed data.

Key Issues Highlighted in the Report:

  • Regulatory Oversight: There is a dire need for stronger support and adequate funding for agencies overseeing worker safety. These organizations are struggling with budgets that do not match inflation rates, impacting their effectiveness.
  • Data and Transparency: To tackle the disparities in workplace safety, there is a pressing need for better data collection methods and greater transparency in reporting hazards and injuries.
  • Employer Accountability: It is crucial to enforce stronger protections for workers who report unsafe conditions, preventing retaliation from employers.

Comments from AFL-CIO leaders, President Liz Shuler and Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond, highlight the urgency of addressing these safety discrepancies and holding negligent employers accountable.

The importance of Workers Memorial Day extends beyond remembering those we’ve lost; it’s about continuous advocacy for safer workplace practices. The Hawaii State AFL-CIO commits to pushing for robust safety standards and regulations that ensure every worker can return home safely at the end of their workday.