Saturday, April 30, 2016

Work shouldn't hurt, Workers' Memorial Day

The bagpipes always get me,
and the bugle.
and the tolling of the bell.

April 28 is Workers' Memorial Day, the day we honor those who have died or been injured on the job or as a result of their work.
Workers hit by cars while repairing roads, police and military killed protecting us, firefighters while they rushed into buildings that the rest of us run from, workers like my brother in law Wayne who die from mesothelioma or asbestos from workplace exposure, teachers in first grade classes at Sandy Hook Elementary, nurses and other healthcare workers who face daily attacks while caring for others, and so many, many more.

As I stood in Bushnell Park in Hartford, waiting for the ceremony to begin, I knew the bagpipes and the bugle would get to me, they always do, They remind me of the sound of human crying.
As they rang the bell, over and over, once after each name was read, I asked myself the same question everyone else did....

When we spend resources, we make workplaces safer.
When we pass laws and regulations to make employers do the right thing, the safe thing, we make workplaces safer.
When we truly believe that every worker deserves to go home to their families at the end of their shift, we make workplaces safer.

But when we cave to the rhetoric that "times our tough' and that there is a "new economic reality" workers continue to be injured and die.

This is the richest country in the world.
Unemployment is at historical low rates.
Times are not "bad," times are good.

Our priorities are "bad."

We put profits before people.
We put "capitalism" and "free market" before people.
Corporations and the top !%  have, for the most part, no belief that they have an ethical responsibility towards mankind.

May 1 is International Workers' Day.
It is fitting it follows Workers' Memorial Day so quickly.
It is a day to realign our priorities, a day to examine our ethical responsibility and realize we are all in this together.
A day for workers to rededicate ourselves to the belief not in "a new economic reality" but in the belief that we are all sisters and brothers, in this together, with an ethical responsibility towards each other.

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