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National Today appreciates the work that has gone into not only building the society we live in, but also bettering it as time goes by, and thus, we are commemorating Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28. All over the world, workers have contributed towards providing and building a society that’s liveable and comfortable. Oftentimes, these workers are away from their families for long periods and face danger at their workplaces due to negligence by their employers in not being provided a safe environment. Because of this lack of concern, workers either die or are often injured and/or maimed irreparably. At times, they also die because of work-related illness. Worker union organizations, therefore, all over the world commemorate the day to not only fight for the rights of workers but also remember those who have passed away.
History of Workers’ Memorial Day
The Workers’ Memorial Day was first celebrated in 1989 by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). AFL-CIO, established in 1955, is the U.S.A.’s largest workers union organization. There are several national and international unions registered with it. The aim of the establishment and the Workers’ Memorial Day is to honor and remember the millions of workers who have lost their lives while at work. The day also aims to provide better safety regulations at workplaces.
Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28, also known as the Day of Mourning or the International Commemoration Day for the Dead and Injured, also happens to be the legislative anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. It was on this day that the protection act was passed and the Occupational Safety and Health Association was formed. Before 1989, Canada, in 1984 and 1985, had also declared a day of mourning for the lost workers through the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Canadian Labour Congress.
There was a 2% increase in work-related injuries in 2018. Some injuries and deaths are captured on CCTV, and this can lead to the employers’ prosecution. However, it is to be noted that not all injuries or deaths are caught on camera as many are work-related illnesses. In 2007 alone, approximately 53,445 workers died of work-related illnesses. Apart from these issues, there are long-term social and economic impacts on the workers’ families and the society at large. From facing financial difficulties to productivity losses to medical costs and much more, it’s a grave issue, to say the least.
Workers’ Memorial Day timeline
The Occupational Safety and Health Act is passed in the Congress for it to be implemented nationwide.
The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions starts celebrating Workers’ Memorial Day every year by setting a particular theme.
The International Labor Organization, which is a part of the UN, officially recognizes Workers’ Memorial Day while also declaring April 28 as the World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
In the USA, 4,628 workers die due to work-related injuries.
Workers’ Memorial Day FAQs
Do labor unions also work to provide better wages for women?
Certainly! You can raise the matter with your local labor unions. Getting your female colleagues (and male too) on the wagon will help your case more.
What are the stats on better pay for union members?
Union members’ pay is 19% higher than that of non-union members. Additionally, 75% of union members get health insurance as opposed to non-members.
Are there efforts being made to increase the minimum wage?
Many Americans believe that the minimum wage should be increased. Labor unions and organizations have worked to increase it, but political and capitalist hindrances result in the movement not gaining much ground.
How to Observe Workers’ Memorial Day
Appreciate the workers
It is because of workers’ daily toil that we are living a comfortable life. Be it being able to purchase fresh produce at the market or having delicious food delivered to your doorstep, these people work endlessly to ensure our society runs smoothly, especially during the pandemic. Appreciate their efforts and be kinder.
It is important that we protect the workers by bringing light to the issue. The more voices join, the higher the chance that something will be done. Talk to your friends and family offline and online. Donate to the cause if you can
Read about workers’ history
Educate yourself on the matter by researching. You will be able to better understand the problem and better present your case when talking to others about the cause
5 Facts About Labor Unions That Will Blow Your Mind
Better pay and benefits for members
Union members tend to get better pay and benefits from their employers as opposed to non-union members.
Union members tend to be more productive and better at their jobs because they will most likely have discussed job improvisations with their employer.
Millennial numbers the highest
Amongst other generations like the Boomers and Gen X, Millennials form the highest number of union members, as of 2017.
Americans support unions
In general, many Americans support labor unions and their ability to unionize workers.
Union members tend to have better pension plans from their employers.
Why We Love Workers’ Memorial Day unity, remembrance, appreciate humanity
It’s a reminder of our unity
This day reminds us that together we can achieve new heights. If we do not take care of each other, we are doomed to fail as a species. At the end of the day, no scientific leaps and advancements would matter if we fail to come together to help each other.
It’s a reminder of the lost
Those who have passed away have left us with their legacies. It’s important to remember them and the reason we lost them because only through such reminders will we be able to work for a better tomorrow.
It’s a reminder to show humanity
One thing that differentiates us from other species on earth is our ability to not only show empathy but to put it into action. Workers make our lives better, so it is high time we strive to make their lives better too.
Workers’ Memorial Day dates