Workers' Memorial Day Events Across The Nation Call For Job Safety Protections
HARRISBURG, Pa., April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania workers will be renewing their strong commitment to job safety and health protections as they honor the memory of co-workers who were killed or injured at work. The Observances will be held on and around Workers' Memorial Day, Saturday April 28, marking the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) over four decades ago. A list of statewide events can be found on our website, www.paaflcio.org. Ceremonies include candlelight vigils, wreath presentations, and reading the names of women and men killed on the job last year. Video and still news photographers will be able to capture powerful visuals at these events.
Labor and community leaders will be joined by elected officials, injured workers and surviving family members in leading the ceremonies, which are hosted by Local Unions and AFL-CIO Central Labor Councils. They will be focusing attention on recent attacks by big business and conservatives in Congress whom are attempting to roll back worker protections under the guise of "regulatory reform."
"Safety laws and regulations don't kill jobs – but unsafe jobs do kill workers," Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale declared. "Politicians should be working hard at creating jobs, not attacking job safety protections. We are calling on our elected officials to improve, not weaken, protections and enforcement and make it easier for workers who want a union to form a union so that they can create good, safe jobs," Bloomingdale said.
"No one should die trying to make a living," Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder said. "And, while it is true that Organized Labor has improved working conditions and saved hundreds of thousands of lives, our work is not done as long as we have to come back here every year and read the names of our dead sisters and brothers," he said. "Until the promise of safe jobs is a reality and the right to form a union is protected, our fight continues," he added.
Since the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Act over 40 years ago, significant progress has been made in reducing job-related injuries and deaths. In 1970, the year OSHA was established, there were over 14,000 deaths on the job nationally. In 2010, that number was 4,574, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
But in Pennsylvania, workplace fatalities rose from 168 to 219 from 2009-2010, despite fewer people in Pennsylvania's workforce due to the economic downturn (http://www.bls.gov/IIF).
In addition to the fatalities that occurred nationwide in 2010, nearly 3.1 million workplace injuries and illnesses were reported among private industry employers. The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO considers one life lost one too many.
SOURCE Pennsylvania AFL-CIO