The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO held a press call and virtual memorial service for Workers’ Memorial Day. We were joined by rank and file union members from the COVID-19 front-lines, who shared their stories of workplace conditions and the impact they’ve seen this virus have on their communities.
With our central labor council presidents across the Commonwealth, we held an online observance of those workers lost on the job. Even though we did not have the opportunity to come together in person this year, we found a way to show our solidarity.
“Today, we honor all workers who have lost their lives on the job and all our sisters and brothers who are risking their own health and safety to keep essential functions of society moving. Right now, we need action to ensure that all working people are safe on the job, have access to the personal protective equipment they need, and protection from unscrupulous employers. COVID-19 must be the catalyst for change, we cannot let the sacrifices of so many workers go without recognition or action,” said President Rick Bloomingdale.
“No one should die earning a living; yet on average, 14 people succumb to workplace injuries every day. How many are perishing from COVID-19 exposure on the job, will not be known for some time. Still, at its current inadequate staffing level, it would take OSHA inspectors more than 150 years to inspect all of our workplaces once, and MSHA is no different. And over 500,000 public sector workers in Pennsylvania still have no OSHA-like protections. All workers are essential. Worker safety is essential. And workers’ ability to form unions could not be more essential than now,” remarked Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder.