Rochester, N.Y.-- On April 28, CSEA and AFSCME and the unions of the AFL-CIO observe Workers Memorial Day to remember those who have suffered and died on the job and to renew the fight for safe workplaces.
This year, CSEA will be hosting a memorial service during it's bi-annual Health & Safety Conference in Lake Placid, N.Y. to mourn the dead and fight like hell for the living.
Four decades ago, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, promising every worker the right to a safe job. CSEA and AFSCME and our allies have fought hard to make that promise a reality—winning protections that have made jobs safer, saved hundreds of thousands of lives and prevented millions of workplace injuries and illnesses.
But our work is not done. Many job hazards are unregulated and uncontrolled. Some employers cut corners and violate the law, putting workers in serious danger and costing lives. Our basic right to collective bargaining and a voice on the job is under assault. Each year thousands of workers are killed and millions more injured or diseased because of their jobs.
The Obama administration has strengthened protections with tougher enforcement on serious violators and has proposed new safeguards for workplace hazards. But business groups and the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives are attacking these stronger measures, falsely claiming they kill jobs.
They are pushing legislation to make it difficult, if not impossible, to issue needed safeguards to protect workers and the public. CSEA and AFSCME will not let them turn back the clock and destroy the progress we have made. Safety laws and regulations don’t kill jobs —but unsafe jobs do kill workers.
On Worker Memorial Day, we will remember those who have suffered and died on the job and to renew the fight for safe workplaces. This year we will fight to create good jobs in this country that are safe and healthy. We will fight for the freedom of workers to form unions and, through their unions, to speak out and bargain for respect and a better future. We will demand that our country fulfill the promise of safe jobs for all.