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Detroit, Michigan 48214 | p. (313) 926-5000
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Workers Memorial Day, April 28, is the annual anniversary of when working people and their unions pay tribute to those who have been hurt or killed on the job.
The UAW will join other unions across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico on Saturday to observe Workers Memorial Day by remembering workers who have suffered and died on the job and to renew the fight for safe workplaces. In Canada, union members observe a special National Day of Mourning, while trade unionists around the world mark April 28 as an international day of remembrance.
On a typical work day in the United States, an average of 12 workers lose their lives as a result of workplace injuries, and another 137 workers die from occupational diseases. Despite the UAW's success in setting workplace safety standards, five UAW members were killed on the job in tragic workplace incidents since we last observed Workers Memorial Day in 2011. This is a reminder to all of us that our work isn't finished.
The UAW, along with the entire labor movement, has a strong record of fighting for safety in the workplace, and creating health and safety standards that employers throughout the country have followed. For the more than 40 years since the Occupational Safety and Health Act was enacted, over 400,000 workers' lives have been saved on the job due to improved safety protections in the workplace. In Michigan, that law was strengthened further in 1975 when the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration was established, providing even further advocacy for health and safety for all workers.
Sadly, these health and safety protections are in jeopardy with right-wing opponents working on state and federal levels to dilute or eliminate hard-won worker safety laws - not to mention all collective bargaining rights - under the guise of job creation. These same opponents continue to work to decrease funding of critical health and safety oversight agencies which, in many cases, provide the only assurance that health and safety laws are being adhered to by employers. Contrary to opponents' arguments, health and safety protections are not job killers, but unsafe workplaces kill and maim workers.
The UAW will never stop its efforts to protect and fortify safe and healthy workplaces for all workers in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. UAW members will be involved in a variety of activities throughout North America on Workers Memorial Day. We urge you to join their fight for a safe and healthy workplace. Workers everywhere deserve to labor in safety. That's why workplace health and safety is the UAW's concern every day of the year, including April 28.
Seven UAW members lost their lives on the job in 2011. (March-April 2012 Solidarity, Page 11)
Workers Memorial Day: Take charge of your health and safety
Find a Workers Memorial Day event near you.