04/26/2010

April 28 is Workers Memorial Day

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Good Jobs. Safe Jobs. NOW. That is the demand of Workers Memorial Day, which is observed annually by the labor movement—April 28, this year. Despite significant improvements in working conditions, workplace illnesses, injuries and death remain far too common.

April 28 marks the anniversary of the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Yet this year, some 8 million public employees have no OSHA rights. And while blue collar jobs are perceived as among the most dangerous, public employees—including educators—have unacceptably high rates of work-related injury and illness. One focus of this year's observance is to push for passage of the Protecting America's Workers Act (H.R. 2067, S. 1580), which would extend OSHA coverage to more workers.

The AFT website includes information about workplace health and safety, training programs, and downloadable materials. The AFL-CIO also has materials about Workers Memorial Day.

With mine safety in the news lately after the recent West Virginia tragedy, it's also worth reading a piece about coal miners and worker safety by AFT member Berry Craig that appeared recently in the AFL-CIO Now blog. Craig is a professor of history at the West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah.