Every April 28, the unions of the AFL-CIO observe Workers Memorial Day, a day to honor workers who have died or suffered illness or injuries while on the job. The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 114 workers were killed in Wisconsin in 2018 while on the job, and many more suffered from occupational diseases. This year, across our country, thousands more workers’ lives are being lost to COVID-19 because workers are not getting necessary protections like proper PPE, thoroughly clean and sanitized workplaces, and appropriate social distance at work — which would save lives and stop the spread of this very contagious virus.
“Fifty years ago, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, promising every worker the right to a safe job,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. “Ever since, working people through unions have fought to gain necessary health and safety rules that have saved working people’s lives and prevented injuries and illnesses on the job. But the Trump administration has allowed business associations to hold back commonsense measures like an emergency temporary infectious disease standard and more that would prevent workplace exposure to COVID-19. The administration did not heed the labor movement’s early call for protections, and the administration did not act quickly to secure testing, workplace safety plans and personal protective equipment. Working people across America are joining together to fight back against these attacks and are calling for every elected leader to put working people’s health and safety above corporate interests.”
“On Workers Memorial Day, we come together to call for action on hazards that cause unnecessary injury, illness and death at work. We will stand united against the ongoing attacks on workers’ rights and protections, and demand that elected officials put working people’s well-being above corporate interests. We will fight for the right of every worker to a safe job until that promise is fulfilled,” said Dennis Delie, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. “Right now, hardworking men and women are putting in long hours to protect and keep our communities running. It is critical for safety agencies to enact emergency rules that will hold employers accountable and protect workers from infectious diseases like COVID-19 at work. Workers deserve to know that we’re going to make it home at the end of the day. We pledge to keep up the fight for safe workplaces.”
April 28 Workers Memorial Day Commemorations in Wisconsin
Statewide Moment of Silence at Noon
Milwaukee Area Labor Council will hold a virtual event at 5:30 p.m. Details here.
South Central Federation of Labor will distribute a video message from workers and allies to fellow unions and the press.
Working people will be posting pictures of a burning candle on social media with the #WMD2020
The Western Wisconsin AFL-CIO will live stream a commemoration at 10:00 a.m. on their Facebook page.
The Marathon County Central Labor Council will hold a moment of silence in Marathon County at 5:30 p.m.