Monday, April 23, 2007

Workers' Memorial Day - April 28th

The first Workers Memorial Day was observed in 1989. April 28 was chosen because it is the anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the day of a similar remembrance in Canada. Every year, people in hundreds of communities and at worksites recognize workers who have been killed or injured on the job. Trade unionists around the world now mark April 28 as an International Day of Mourning.

Decades of struggle by workers and their unions have resulted in significant improvements in working conditions. But the toll of workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths remains enormous. Each year, thousands of workers are killed and millions more are injured or diseased because of their jobs.

On April 28, AFSCME Local 965 and the unions of the AFL-CIO observe Workers Memorial Day to remember those who have suffered and died on the job and to renew the fight for safe workplaces. We will fight to make workers’ issues a priority and to keep and create good jobs in this country. We will fight for the freedom of workers to form unions and, through their unions, to speak out and bargain for safe jobs, respect and a better future for our families. We will demand that the country fulfill the promise of safe jobs for all workers. It’s time.

The theme of this year’s Worker Memorial Day is “Good Jobs. Safe Jobs. It’s Time.” We urge our members to get involved and organize actions, activities, or observances in our campus workplaces and our communities.

The Arkansas AFL-CIO, the UALR Labor Education Project, and the Arkansas Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice will sponsor a public ceremony at Riverfront Park in North Little Rock. Rev. Steve Copley of Arkansas Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice will preside, and we will be reading the names of those Arkansas workers who have died on the job this past year. We have found that families of union members who died on the job do appreciate being asked to participate. They can't always come, but when they do, they find the ceremony dignified and consoling. If you know someone who has been hurt on the job or a family of someone who lost their life on the job, please ask them to join us.

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