Weekly Update: Workers Memorial Day

Workers Memorial Day 2016

More than 4,820 workers were killed on the job in 2014, according to a new report by the AFL-CIO. Additionally, an estimated 50,000-60,000 died from occupational diseases, resulting in a daily loss of nearly 150 workers from preventable workplace injuries and illnesses.

“Working people should not have to risk their lives to make a living and support their families,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Yet every day, millions of Americans are forced to work with little to no safety protections while big businesses and corporations profit off our lives.”  

Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, marks the 25th year the AFL-CIO has published national findings on the safety and health conditions for working people. Among other findings:

  • The report calls attention to an increase in fatalities among older workers.
  • The states with the highest fatality rates were Wyoming, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota and Mississippi.
  • In 2014, 804 Latino workers lost their lives on the job and the fatality rate for Latino workers remains higher than the national rate.
  • Workplace violence injuries, particularly among women workers in health care, is a serious problem. The workplace violence injury rate has increased by 60% over the past five years, while the overall job injury rate has declined.

Oversight of job safety and health conditions remains weak and is getting worse in certain ways. OSHA can now inspect a workplace on average only once every 145 years, compared with once every 84 years in 1992, when the AFL-CIO issued its first report. The average penalty for serious violations last year was only $2,148 and the median penalty for worker deaths was only $7,000.


“We have made important progress, including winning new OSHA silica standards to protect workers from deadly dust,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “But as this report shows, too many employers are cutting corners and workers are paying the highest price. We must keep working for stronger laws and enforcement to hold employers accountable, until all working people are safe on the job.” said Trumka.

Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect is being released in conjunction with Workers Memorial Day when vigils, rallies, and actions are being held across the country to remember workers killed and injured on the job. The report can be found online here: aflcio.org/death-on-the-job.

In Oregon, we will gather tomorrow, April 28th, at noon for our annual Workers Memorial Day Observance in Salem. Click here for more details.


Burgerville Workers Stand Together

The Burgerville Workers Union and their allies marched through Southeast Portland yesterday, ending at the Burgerville on SE 26th and Powell where they rallied for fair pay.


Click here to read news coverage about the rally and click here to watch an inspiring video about their struggle.   You can follow the Burgerville Workers Union on Facebook for the latest news and updates.


2016 Pacific Northwest Labor History Association Conference

Labor, Justice and the Environment: Historical Insights, Alliances and Challenges
May 20 – May 22 in Portland
Printable Conference Brochure

Labor historians, students, environmental activists, politicians and trade unionists will gather at the Portland State University Conference Center in Portland on May 20-22 to share views on “Labor, Justice and the Environment.” See program brochure for complete details on how to register and list of panels.

Click here to register and find out more about the conference here.