LCLAA Honors Fallen Workers on Workers’ Memorial Day
Dear LCLAA members, allies and friends,
Each year on Workers Memorial Day, working people throughout the world pause to remember those who were hurt or killed on the job. We honor them, and redouble our efforts to ensure no one should have to put their lives on the line to bring home a paycheck. It’s a time where workers and employers come together and create a safer workplace for all of our brothers and sisters in the labor force.
Year after year, LCLAA has been on the forefront of demanding better working conditions and better safety protections for Latino workers.
Latinos continue to be exposed and forced to work in unsafe conditions because greedy profit driven corporations view our brothers and sisters as cheap disposable labor.
LCLAA strongly supports policies and legislation that strengthen workplace safety for Latinos. As a result, our last two reports entitled “Trabajadoras 2012: Challenges and Conditions of Latina Workers,” and “2011 Latino Workers in the United States“ found that Latinos are the most vulnerable workers in the labor force.
It’s no surprise that Latino workers continue to be at a higher risk of dying on the job, working in some of the most dangerous industries. This is especially true for our undocumented brothers and sisters, who are more vulnerable to exploitation due to their status.
- In 2012, 749 Latino deaths were reported, up from 707 the previous year– the highest fatality rate among any other group (AFL-CIO Death on the Job Report).
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that Latino workers are 50% more likely to be killed on the job from falls and dangerous and unhealthy working conditions such as exposure to chemicals or being struck and killed by equipment than the overall workforce.
- The Federal Occupations Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently published a report where they found:
- From 2003-2011 74% of construction workers who died were either U.S. born Latinos or immigrants
- Safety violations are more common at the job sites run by smaller, non-union contractors- which hire more immigrant workers
- OSHA penalties are low for safety infractions; the average penalty for a serious violation is $2,156 (2012)
- The 2012 median initial penalty for a death investigated by OSHA was $6,625
While we know that our community is being directly impacted by the negligent practices of some employers, today we strengthen our efforts to prevent more fatalities at the workplace and honor those fallen. LCLAA in coalition with the broader labor movement is fighting for stronger workers’ rights regulations, harsher civil and criminal penalties for safety violations, and less anti-union legislation. Unions ensure workplace safeguards are present, reduce the amount of on the job fatalities, and provide workers with a voice.