In 2009, 4,340 workers were killed on the job, a decrease of 874 deaths from the 2008 figure. But, as Huffington Post’s Lila Shapiro states, that has nothing to do with safeguards the government has put in place to protect workers. Instead, it’s because fewer people were working during the recession.
Today, on Workers Memorial Day, we must demand more from our lawmakers. We deserve to be safe at work. Think about it. In the past year we’ve seen:
• Air traffic controllers sleeping on the job, forcing pilots to blindly land;
• An explosion on an offshore oil rig that killed 11 workers and triggered the worst environmental disaster our country has ever seen;
• A fire in a West Virginia mine that killed 29 employees;
• A college student killed while filming a football game for his school, and another that died in the chemistry lab at her college;
• A marine-life trainer at a theme park crushed and drowned by an orca during a performance;
• Actors rushed to the hospital while rehearsing a Broadway hit;
Yet for all of the tragedies American workers have faced, we have witnessed shockingly little being done about them. We have yet to see any meaningful legislation make its way through Congress to protect offshore oil workers. Congress has yet to pass legislation that would hold corporations accountable when their negligence kills workers. In fact, many members of Congress want to weaken the rules we have that protect people at work and let corporations run amok. Not to mention that apparently our child labor laws are up for debate. Tell Congress we want more.
But we continue to fight. Just as community organizer Mother Jones said while rallying workers together to demand better working conditions, we will continue to fight like hell for the living. Join us. We’re working for you. We’re working for the workers. It’s time that everyone who leaves for work in the morning returns home safely at night.