Workers’ Memorial Day:
The globe celebrates Workers’ Memorial Day each year on the 28th of April. The day is a reminder of unity and of all the humanity of the workers we’ve lost who left behind legacies.
|2022||28th April||Thursday||United States|
|2023||28th April||Friday||United States|
|2024||28th April||Saturday||United States|
Why Workers’ Memorial Day?
The society we live in has been built spins slowly around the orbit of the sun. We go by without batting an eye, without stopping for a minute to think about the thousands that built our buildings or cleaned our offices, stitched our clothes to create our roads in conditions so highly unsafe and unhygienic that people like you and I could not stand to spend a minute in. These spaces were highly disorganized and usually unsafe, and not to mention had not at all worker-friendly rules and regulations. Yet, despite it all, they devoted their lives to the service of the people for the welfare of the people with a bit more privilege than them.
During the 1950s, an organization was established that united the Labor Unions into a single goal. In 1955, AFL and CIO, the organizations from many countries, came together as one with the common goal to represent the workers all over the world in creating a safe and sanitary workplace with shorter hours and higher wages.
In the April of 1970, Workers’ Memorial Day was introduced to highlight the efforts and struggles of the thousands of workers across the world who had lost their lives due to the working conditions they had to face. The same year, OSHA came into effect. This not only standardized safety protocols but also created an organization that would ensure that the protocols be followed. They were, you could say, the legislation. This practice then came into effect all over the world.
The National Confederation of Free Trade Unions started celebrating Workers’ Memorial Day in 1996 each year by setting a specific theme. It was in 2001 that the International Labor Organization, a part of the United Nations, recognized Workers’ Memorial Day. They also declared April 28 as the World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
You’re probably wondering why we still need Workers’ Memorial Day today. The situation has improved, not in full measure but very substantially, right? The fact is, even though there’s a lot of improvement, there’s room for thrice as much. What that means is that in 2012, 4,628 workers died due to work-related injuries in the US. In 2018, there was actually an increase in deaths, but these are only deaths captured on surveillance. In 2017 alone, 53,445 deaths occurred due to work-related sicknesses. Be it a financial crisis or direct deaths or medical costs, and we’ve got a long way to go if we are ever getting out from under this surreally great issue.
All of that quite clearly concludes why we truly need Workers’ Memorial Day- it signifies a day for the representation of the deaths and difficulties of workers and pushes institutions, organizations, and legislation to take action. It makes us aware of who we need to work for.
How Can We Observe Workers’ Memorial Day:
- Appreciation: A bit of appreciation goes a long way. Your life would be completely something else if it wasn’t for their daily struggles. From fresh produce to perfect roads, the comfort of modern life would be quite impossible. Give them a hug, maybe a gift. Tell them how grateful you are for their work.
- Education: Read about the history of the workers- everything they’ve done for you and everything they’ve faced while doing it. This way, you’ll be able to understand them better and explain their side of the story to others.
- Awareness: Spread the word. Tell your neighbor, your best friend, and anyone else. Post on your social media platforms using hashtags #WorkersMemorialDay #InternationalWorkersMemorialDay.
Interesting Facts on Workers’ Memorial Day:
- The Workers’ Memorial Day was not originally called so. Its name used to be Decoration Day, and soldiers would celebrate it by decorating the graves of the workers.
- New York is considered the initial destination of the Workers’ Memorial Day.
- In December 2000, Congress passed a law that it was legally required to pause at 3 pm local time on Workers’ Memorial Day.
History of Workers’ Memorial Day:
This day was first celebrated in 1989 by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (ALF-CIO), an organization established in 1955, the largest workers union.