Category Archives: 2021 North America

USA: Las familias y lxs compañerxs de trabajo recuerdan a los perdidos en el trabajo durante la Semana Conmemorativa de lxs Trabajadorxs

El estándar temporal de emergencia COVID-19 salvará vidas y debe ser “aprobado rápidamente y aplicado rigurosamente”, dicen los activistas de seguridad

LOS ÁNGELES- Al reunirse en la Manifestación Nacional virtual para observar la Semana Conmemorativa de lxs Trabajadorxs, lxs activistas de seguridad dijeron hoy que un nueva Norma Temporal de Emergencia COVID-19 (ETS – por sus siglas en inglés) salvará vidas y debe ser “rápidamente aprobada y aplicada rigurosamente”.

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USA: Families and co-workers remember those lost on the job for Workers’ Memorial Week – National COSH

Life-Saving COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) Must Be “Rapidly Approved and Rigorously Enforced,” Say Safety Activists
Families and Co-Workers Remember Those Lost on the Job for Workers’ Memorial Week

LOS ANGELES – Gathering at a virtual National Speak Out to observe Workers’ Memorial Week, safety activists said today that a new COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) will save lives and must be “rapidly approved and rigorously enforced.”

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USA: A proclamation from US President Joe Biden on Workers Memorial Day, 2021

white concrete building during night time
Photo: Unsplash/Tabrez Syed

America’s workers are the backbone of our economy.  In every State, territory, and Tribal land, they leave their homes and families and head to work — applying their grit and skill to create, serve, and service all those things that make our world turn.  Even during our Nation’s most difficult periods, American workers have always persevered, ensuring that our communities remain resilient and that our Nation stands ready to confront the unforeseen challenges of each new generation. Though workers make tremendous sacrifices — especially essential workers who selflessly serve their communities during times of crisis — none of them should have to risk injury, illness, or death in order to provide for themselves and their families. Tragically, thousands of workers are killed and millions more are hurt or fall ill every year in the workplace — incidents that are often preventable.  On the 50th anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, we reflect on the workers who have tragically lost their lives or have been harmed in the workplace, and we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that every American worker has a safe and healthy work environment.

Over the past century, labor unions have fought hard — very often successfully — to draw attention to unsafe workplace environments and organize for safer work conditions and protections from the Federal Government.  In 1935, the National Labor Relations Act codified private-sector workers’ right to organize, collectively bargain, and strike.  Decades later, the passage of the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act in 1969 and the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970 enshrined a promise that the wanton indifference to workers’ lives — the days of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the Farmington Mine explosion — would no longer be tolerated.  Establishing and enforcing Federal workplace safety and health standards has undoubtedly saved lives.

Despite the progress we have made cementing workplace protections into law, many workers still fear retaliation and retribution from management when they are asked to perform unsafe tasks or work in unsanitary conditions.  This fear forces many workers to remain silent, putting their lives and the lives of their colleagues at risk.  Alone, a single worker is often at the mercy of their boss, with little chance of rectifying an unsafe working environment created by employers who cut corners in the name of profit.  United, and protected by law from intimidation and coercion from their employers, workers can collectively demand improved working conditions.

In an economic system that puts too much power in the hands of wealthy corporations and Wall Street, unions give workers a way to band together, wield their full power, and stand on equal footing with management.  Unions not only protect the physical wellbeing of workers, but they also protect their financial security; they protect workers’ equity, too, helping ensure that workplaces are free from harassment and discrimination.  Over the past half century, we have seen the percentage of American workers represented by unions decline dramatically.  It is no surprise that during this same period, the average incomes of the bottom 90 percent of households in America have only risen by about 1 percent.  The decades-long assault we’ve seen on union organizing is a direct assault on the health and incomes of American workers.

My Administration is committed to protecting the lives, rights, and livelihoods of workers and reducing workplace accidents, injuries, and fatalities.  That is why I strongly encourage the Congress to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act of 2021 — and why I included the PRO Act as part of my American Jobs Plan.  The decision to form a union should belong to workers alone — free from coercion, interference, or intimidation — and this important legislation would empower workers to exercise their right to organize, hold management accountable for violating the rights of their workers, and promote union elections that are free from interference from employers.

It is clear that we have not completely fulfilled our obligation to protect our Nation’s workers.  We must always remain vigilant against the notion that worker endangerment is simply a necessary cost of doing business.  And we must always protect the right of workers to unite and bargain for their own mutual aid or protection.

Today, we mourn each treasured life taken away on the job.  Those stricken by disease and fatal injuries as they keep America running deserve a dedicated day of grateful prayer and remembrance from the living.  Workers Memorial Day impels us to work for a future where no one should have to risk their life for a paycheck.  When our Nation fully recovers from the challenges we face today, it will be in large part because of the sacrifice and perseverance of our workers.  We commit to holding close their memory and investing in the health and safety of the colleagues they have left behind.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 28, 2021, as Workers Memorial Day.  I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate service, community, and education programs and ceremonies in memory of those killed or injured due to unsafe working conditions.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-seventh day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.


USA: National COSH Report: Reporte “Riesgos Mortales, Fallas Costosas” / “Deadly Risks, Costly Failures” and other WMW resources

Families and Co-Workers Remember Those Lost on the Job for Workers’ Memorial Week

LOS ANGELES – Gathering at a virtual National Speak Out to observe Workers’ Memorial Week, safety activists said today that a new COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) will save lives and must be “rapidly approved and rigorously enforced.”

National COSH also released today a new report, “Deadly Risks, Costly Failures.”  Key findings include:

Deadly Risks, Costly Failures” report.

Reporte “Riesgos Mortales, Fallas Costosas” 

Graphics to share on social media, in English and Spanish, in our 2021 WMW Toolkit.

  • Worker complaints to OSHA increased by 20% in 2020 when compared to 2019 — but safety inspections dropped by 50%
  • No public agency is monitoring workplace infections or fatalities from COVID-19.  The total number of those who have died after workplace exposure is untracked and unknown.
  • Black, Latinx, and Native people are more likely to get infected, more likely to die from the disease, and over-represented in the frontline occupations where workers are most at risk.

Deadly Risks, Costly Failures” is available at

Canada: Day of Mourning – Recognizing the human cost of COVID-19 | Public Service Alliance of Canada


On the National Day of Mourning, PSAC joins Canada’s unions in recognizing the devastating human cost of COVID-19.

One year later, the pandemic has exposed many of the gaps inPSAC protections for workers across Canada. Workers and unions have had to fight for access to personal protective equipment, safe social distancing measures at work, paid sick leave and respect for basic health and safety rights.

Many of these health and safety issues are not new, but they’ve been exacerbated by the pandemic, and they disproportionately impact workers from marginalized communities because many work precarious jobs without access to sick leave.

Throughout the pandemic, PSAC has been working to secure safe and healthy working conditions for our members, wherever work is taking place. PSAC members have been exposed to COVID-19 at meat-packing plants, border crossings, federal penitentiaries, in hospitals, on military bases and at the office. We continue to fight for access to free personal protective equipment, proper training and paid sick days so that workers can stay home when they’re sick without the risk of exposing their co-workers, families and communities to COVID-19.

An estimated 58 per cent of Canadian workers don’t have access to paid sick leave through their employers, according to a report by the Decent Work and Health Network. That number rises to 70 per cent among people making less than $25,000 a year.

In the months ahead, our health and safety committees will continue to monitor workplaces, making sure employers respect your health and safety rights, including the right to refuse unsafe work, and ensure that all workplaces are safe before reopening.

PSAC will also continue to pressure provincial and territorial governments to provide universal, permanent and adequate paid sick leave so that nobody has to choose between going to work sick and getting paid.

Take action 

To add your voice to the call for paid sick leave for all, join the Canadian Labour Congress’s phone banking session on April 28 (English only) to call on decision-makers to take action on paid sick leave.

You can also download the CLC’s digital toolkit and shareables to mark the National Day of Mourning with Facebook and Twitter profile pictures while attending online ceremonies in your area.

Canada: Unifor calls for pandemic protection for workers on National Day of Mourning

Unifor calls for pandemic protection for workers on National Day of Mourning

TORONTO– As Unifor prepares to mark the National Day of Mourning on April 28, the union is calling for immediate government action to provide pandemic protection for workers.

“The pandemic has starkly revealed inequities in our workplaces, with many workers continuing to offer essential services, despite the risks to their health and to that of their families,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “No one should have to die to make a living, but provincial governments continue to reject pandemic measures needed to protect workers.”

Sadly, 19 Unifor members lost their lives since the last Day of Mourning, either on the job or to COVID-19. The seven Unifor members who died from COVID-19 worked in a variety of sectors, including long-term care, warehouse and manufacturing. In their memory, Unifor is continuing to advocate for priority vaccine access for all workers who must leave the house, permanent paid sick days, paid vaccination time and increased rapid testing.

April 28 marks the National Day of Mourning, to pay tribute to workers who died due to workplace injury and occupational disease and recommit to improve health and safety in the workplace. This year’s even takes on special significance during the heightened safety concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related links:

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

Canada: Working people built this country: they’ve earned a right to safe workplaces, and deserve them – UNA


Last year, 150 Alberta workers lost their lives on the job.

Families and co-workers were devastated. There was an empty spot at many tables, conversations will be missed forever, there are deep regrets because there was no chance to say I love you one more time.

Then came COVID-19. When we first heard of the new disease overseas, most of us assumed it would never land it Canada. We thought Western medicine would save us.

We were wrong. When the carnage arrived, borders were closed, civil restrictions put in place, visitors restricted in health care settings, continuous masking was required, a Joint Statement negotiated, single-site orders, AFD payments, isolation measures, mental health concerns, N95 respirators locked up, overtime, burnout, short staffing, and the list goes on.

All you need to do is look around at your workplace to see the stress on your co-workers’ faces.

Conversations are different. Who’s talking about a winter vacation or summer holidays now? Who’s thinking about an upcoming wedding invitation? Instead we have restrictions on attending a funeral to say goodbye. Who thought we’d ever need an invitation to attend a funeral for a dear friend or family member?

COVID units are over capacity, nurses must hold up iPads so family members can say goodbye. Imagine the mental toll that takes on those nurses? Resilience is a word employers rely on and workers have come to hate.

Despite all this, the Alberta Government has launched attacks on the Occupational Health and Safety Act. It is reviewing the OHS Code and considering language that would gut Joint Workplace Health and Safety Committees, eviscerate the applicable rate of pay UNA won at arbitration, and change the rules to make it harder to refuse unsafe work.

Eliminating work refusals that save lives and protect workers’ health and safety are justified in the name of “job creators” who forget that people who work and spend their wages are the economic drivers of the economy. Labour for this government has become a dirty word.

2020, a year many would like to forget, but mustn’t!

As bad a year as 2020 has been, there are positive outcomes that will take us into the future.

Employers can no longer tell workers and their unions that policies can’t be changed quickly. We have seen OHS policy changed in a week, not three years.

Meetings are now held virtually. Zoom and Skype are normal. Business gets done but the value of sitting across the table and looking someone in the eye seems to have been lost. A handshake on a deal is gone for the moment. But we will get back.

Supply chain lines for PPE are now secured. PPE is now manufactured in Canada and Alberta, including quality face shields, medical masks, and N95 respirators. No manager should hesitate to supply any PPE, no worker should hesitate to ask. This includes N95 respirators, when they are needed to perform work safely.

Health care workers are now supposedly eligible to receive vaccinations. But some workers caring for COVID patients had to meet additional criteria to be vaccinated. What’s wrong with this picture?

We must never forget that governments come and go, even in Alberta. We, the workers of Alberta, will still be here to challenge inadequate legislation.

At the time of writing, six health care workers have died and more than 8,000 have tested positive for COVID-19.

We must remember that not all health care workers who become infected with COVID recover. Some become “long-haulers,” and that will be their life’s journey. They are the walking wounded. We don’t know what medical attention they will require or what their life needs will be.

This article is not just about COVID-19. Countless other injuries occurred that caused the deaths of those 150 workers in 2020. They went to work and ended up not going home. They likely went to the hospitals where you work, where you tried to give them another shot at life.

April 28 is the day we remember that we, working people, built this country. Working people have earned the right to safe workplaces, and unions to keep them safe. All working people deserve a safe workplace

Stay Healthy! Work Safe!

This year, I want to talk to you, not about you!

Dewey Funk, Occupational Health & safety Advisor, United Nurses of Alberta

USA: JLC virtual Workers Memorial Day Program – “Unions makes a difference”



Workers Memorial Day, April 28th, has been commemorated since 1970, to honor the victims of workplace injury and illness and to keep fighting for the promise of safe jobs for all workers.

This year, Workers Memorial Week contains a range of programs and activities across the map. The Jewish Labor Committee Invites you to a: VIRTUAL WORKERS MEMORIAL DAY PROGRAM

Marking the 50th Anniversary of OSHA – The Occupational Safety & Health Act


Thursday, April 29, 2021, 4:00 p.m. (EDT)

Speakers Include:

Marcy Goldstein-Gelb
Executive Director, National Council for Occupational Safety and Health

Armando Elenes
Secretary-Treasurer, United Farm Workers

James Shackelford
Southeast Council, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union


Arieh Lebowitz
Executive Director, Jewish Labor Committee

To Register, click here:

Worker’s Memorial Day, the anniversary of the day OSHA went into effect, serves to remember those workers who lost their lives on the job.  This year, we especially honor those thousands of front-line workers who fell victim to COVID-19.  Learn what we can do to strengthen OSHA, and provide workers a stronger voice to ensure their well-being.

140 West 31st Street, 2nd Floor / New York, NY 10001 / 212-477-0707 / f 212-477-1918 / /

USA: ADAO joins forces to “Mourn the Dead and Fight Like Hell for the Living”

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) joins individuals, trade unions, and organizations around the world for Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28, 2021, for those who have been injured or killed on the job; and for International Workers Day on May 1, 2021, commemorating the historic struggles and gains made by workers and the labor movement. For decades, unions like AFL-CIO have commemorated these important days with activities and awareness events around the world where people are uniting, taking a stand, and making sure their voices are heard. more

Canada: National Day of Mourning – April 28, 2021 CUPW Shows Respect


The National Day of Mourning, held annually on April 28, is dedicated to remembering those who have lost their lives or suffered injury or illness on the job. This annual event was initiated by the labour movement 37 years ago to increase awareness of on-the-job injuries and fatal workplace accidents. This day of remembrance was officially recognized by the federal government in 1991, six years after it was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) in 1985.

Although the National Day of Mourning is now recognized in more than 100 countries, including Canada, last year underscored that there is still a lot of work to accomplish in order to improve workers’ safety.

In the past year, the way we live and work greatly changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of Canadian workers have had to cope with reduced work hours or modified schedules, or been compelled to stay at home due to childcare issues, illness, or other personal challenges stemming from government-mandated emergency measures. Yet, others have had to continue working in spite of the persistent danger this virus represents.

We had to adapt the way we work, using personal protective equipment adapted to our different activities throughout the country. Workers of various sectors such as the postal service, put their health and safety at risk on a daily basis to ensure that Canadians can get through these unprecedented times. And all the while trying their best to take care of their own well-being and mental health.

This Wednesday, April 28, 2021, it is important that, wherever we are, we take the time to remember our brothers and sisters who have endured hardships or who tragically did not survive this terrible virus. Let us also remember those who died, suffered injuries or became disabled while on duty. We must all commit to continuing the struggle to force employers and governments to fulfill their obligation to make every workplace a safe and healthy one. We must also continue seeking stronger health and safety standards and protection, and better enforcement in our workplaces.


In solidarity,

Marc Roussel

National Union Representative – Health and Safety

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