Letter to the Editor

Special day marks workers' safety

Friday, April 29, 2005

To the editor:

Workers Memorial Day is held each April 28 to mourn workers killed and injured on the job. It is also the day we rededicate ourselves to the fight to make our workplaces safer.

We still have a long way to go. Every year, nearly 6,000 people are killed at work. Another 50,000 workers die annually from occupational diseases. Millions more are injured.

The push for production, and influx of new workers as more experienced workers retire, reduced staffing, growing use of subcontractors and outsourcing, mandatory overtime and changes in technology and work processes all pose a threat to workers' safety and health. Too often, work culture and the pressure to produce trump written safety and health policies. The work culture wins, and workers lose by being injured or killed.

Meatpackers, laundry workers, steelworkers, distribution-center workers, nurses, construction workers, flight attendants and others routinely suffer from their employers' drive to reduce costs and produce more.

This April 28 we remembered that millions of American workers struggle to support their families and are too often injured or killed in the process. It's time to stand up and fight to make the promise of safe jobs a reality for all workers.

SUSAN HESTER, Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical & Energy Workers International Union Local 5-0164, Chaffee, Mo.