Fighting for Safety on the Job

From the AFL-CIO

Monday marked the 107th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in New York. After claiming the lives of 146 young immigrant garment workers, this tragedy drove working people to join together and demand safe conditions on the job. More than a century later, we’ve made enormous strides forward. But we’re still fighting for our right to work without risk of injury, illness or even death.

Disasters like the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire can seem like a sordid history that has been put long behind us. Nearly 50 years after the Occupational Safety and Health Act was signed into law, surely working people can go to work confident that they will return safely to their families at the end of their shifts.

Yet, that is still far from the case. From headline-grabbing tragedies like the Upper Big Branch mine disaster to chronic diseases that quietly haunt workers for years, we still face dire threats to our well-being. Coal mine deaths rose by 87.5 percent last year.

Instead of taking steps to bolster worker protections, President Donald Trump is taking us in the wrong direction. From hiding statistics on worker deaths to cutting workplace inspectors, the Trump administration continues to side with powerful corporate interests over the basic freedoms of working people.

We have given our time, blood and sweat to build the most prosperous nation on earth. And we’re joining together and fighting for the decent working conditions that we deserve.