According to the AFL-CIO’s new Death on the Job report, 93,500 people were injured and 77 people were killed due to job-related hazards in Wisconsin in 2008.
With those grim facts in mind, Workers Memorial Day observances around the state yesterday honored the dead with an eye towards preventing future tragedies.
In the assembly parlor of the capitol building, Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President David Newby and WisCOSH, Inc. Executive Director Jim Schultz led a ceremony in which union members from the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) recited the names of Wisconsin workers killed on the job.
“Just weeks after 29 miners were killed at the Massey Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia, it’s clear that workers’ safety and health remain in serious danger,” said President Newby, “Wisconsin’s working families need good, safe jobs now.”
Katie Crawley, the South Central Regional Coordinator for Sen. Russ Feingold, delivered a statement on the senator’s behalf. Feingold is a co-sponsor of the Protecting America’s Workers Act which will protect millions of workers who are not currently covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, strengthen penalties for companies that put workers in danger, and improve whistleblower protections so that workers can raise concerns about workplace safety or health hazards without fear of retaliation.
Media outlets including Wisconsin Public Radio, WMTV Channel 15 (NBC), WKOW Channel 27 (ABC), Wisconsin Radio Network, the Wisconsin State Journal, Wisconsin Eye Television and Union Labor News reported on the ceremony in Madison.
Click here to listen to Wisconsin Radio Network’s coverage of Workers Memorial Day.
Click here to read an article by national AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka calling for the passage of the Protecting America’s Workers Act.
Workers Memorial Day events were also held in Milwaukee, La Crosse, Stevens Point and Superior.
Since the Occupational Safety and Health Act passed in 1970, more than 410,000 workers’ lives have been saved due to improvements in job safety protections. Yet nationally, more than 4 million workers were injured and 5,071 workers were killed due to job hazards in 2008. Another 50,000 - 60,000 died due to occupational diseases.
The full 2010 AFL-CIO Death on the Job report is available at: http://www.aflcio.org/issues/safety/memorial/