April 28, 2017 marked the 47th annual Workers’ Memorial Day. It is a day when the people of this nation are invited and encouraged to remember the sacrifices made by individuals who have died while working. At Abes Baumann, we believe this is a particularly meaningful day.
As attorneys who represent injured workers, we have the sad responsibility of litigating cases for the widows and widowers of workers who were killed on the job. We witness the unimaginable pain that is caused when a family member doesn’t return home at the end of the workday. We are inspired by the courage and resolve of clients who push through in the face of overwhelming grief. We are angered and outraged beyond words at the callous pettiness of many employers that could have prevented fatal accidents with just a little more money or attention to safety measures. Today, provides an opportunity for us to remember and honor those clients and their families who have touched our lives in so many ways.
This day provides an opportunity to reflect on how far we as a nation have come in advancing the goals of workplace safety. It is hard to imagine that less than 100 years ago children worked and died in coal mines. The production of many of the conveniences of modern society— skyscrapers, bridges, clothing, and many household chemicals—were once produced only at great risk to workers. We should remember with gratitude the people who have made those advances possible—civil servants of agencies such as OSHA; crusading politicians who have embraced workplace safety; writers and journalists who have cast bright light on the dark, dangerous corners of many workplaces; and, most importantly, the dedicated men and women of the labor movement.
Today is a day to recommit ourselves to insuring that we continue the trend of creating safer work places. Some politicians have recently proposed eliminating regulations that ensure workplace safety, reducing funding to agencies charged with protecting workers, and eliminating or reducing compensation to injured workers. We owe it to those workers who have died on the job—the workers whom we honor today—to resolutely oppose any efforts that would make the workplace less safe.