A safe job is a fundamental right.

Every year on April 28, the United Steelworkers, along with all unions, observes Workers Memorial Day to remember those who have suffered and died on the job and to renew our fight for safe workplaces.

This year, we reflect on the courageous actions of working people to fight for safer working conditions and focus on the need to organize for safe jobs for all of America’s workers.

The COVID-19 pandemic devastated working families and highlighted the fundamental right to and importance of a safe job for every worker.

Immediately and throughout this crisis, the USW, other unions, and our allies have stepped into action to demand and win protections on the job from this highly contagious virus.

  • We organized for safe jobs and the right to speak out against unsafe working conditions.
  • We won emergency safety protections for health care workers against COVID-19, and are continuing the fight for all.
  • Without federal action to require prevention measures in all workplaces, we demanded access to the ventilation, personal protective equipment and other measures that protect workers from inhaling the virus at work.

The central involvement of organized labor and our allies was the key factor that improved working conditions to save lives.

The pandemic exposed our weak laws that have prevented workers from organizing in their workplaces to demand safer working conditions.

It also exposed weak job safety laws and a lack of resources that would ensure the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) can protect workers.

Many employers and workers never see OSHA in their workplace. Penalties are still too low to be a deterrent. Workers are not adequately protected to speak out against unsafe working conditions and to freely join a union without retaliation.

As we look to the next 50 years of worker protections under OSHA and MSHA, we must demand Congress strengthen the agencies’ authorities and provide them the resources necessary to ensure working people have safe jobs now.

There must be action on critical safety and health protections against preventable hazards: infectious diseases, heat illness, workplace violence and silica in mining, and exposure to toxic chemicals that kills tens of thousands of workers each year.

Together, we are raising our collective voices to win stronger safety and health protections in our workplaces and stronger job safety and health laws.

We are standing strong to hold workplace safety agencies accountable to create and enforce laws that protect workers, and to hold employers accountable to keep workers safe.

We are organizing to raise the baseline level of safety protections for everyone, including those disproportionately impacted by dangerous working conditions.


Tune into www.facebook.com/steelworkers/live on Thursday, April 28, 2022 to join us for our annual Workers Memorial Day ceremony where we will come together to honor our union siblings we've lost to workplace illness or injury, and to call for action on hazards that cause unnecessary injury, illness and death.

Here's more ways you and your local can observe Workers Memorial Day:

  • Hold a virtual or in-person candlelight vigil, memorial service or moment of silence to remember those who have died on the job, and highlight job safety problems at workplaces in our community.
  • Host a phone event or webinar with members of Congress in their districts. Involve injured workers and family members who can talk firsthand about the need for strong safety and health protections, the ability to speak up against unsafe working conditions, and joining together in union to keep workplaces safe. Invite local religious and community leaders and other allies to participate in the event.
  • Conduct virtual workshops to empower workers to report job safety hazards and exercise workplace rights. Invite union members, nonunion workers and community allies to participate.
  • Create a memorial at a workplace or in a community where workers have been killed on the job.
  • Create and share an online photo and storyboard campaign on social media to remember workers who have been killed on the job.
  • Invite the press to your Workers Memorial Day events to increase public awareness of the dangers working people face on the job.


Click here to visit the AFL-CIO website for more materials including posters, fact sheets and artwork available in English and Spanish.


United Support and Memorial for Workplace Fatalities (USMWF) Facebook page