The Most Dangerous Jobs in America: The Working People Weekly List

Working People Weekly List

Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s the latest edition of the Working People Weekly List.

Report Exposes Racial Disparities in Workplace Safety: “‘These alarming disparities in workplace fatalities among workers of color are unacceptable, symptomatic of deeply ingrained racial inequity and the need to pay increased attention to the dangerous industries that treat workers as disposable,’ remarked AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler in a statement.”

Congress Has the Opportunity to Keep Millions of Americans Connected: “The internet is one of America’s greatest success stories and is now an essential part of daily life for millions of people around the world. Through significant investment, innovation and the hard work of thousands of people building modern and innovative broadband networks, we’re close to making the internet accessible to all Americans—regardless of where they live. The digital divide is a persistent challenge, but it’s one Verizon Communications and the Communications Workers of America are committed to solving.”

Citing Infrastructure Spending and Jobs, Philly Construction Union Endorses Biden: “Union leaders from the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council announced their endorsement of Joe Biden for president at an event at their headquarters. The endorsement comes on the heels of a major national union endorsement, the North America’s Building Trades Unions. Leaders and members pointed to the Investing in America plan as the catalyst for the endorsement. ‘A lot of my members have been out working on the infrastructure bill,’ said Francis McLaughlin, business manager for International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 21 (IUPAT).”

EPA to Ban Most Uses of Methylene Chloride: “The Environmental Protection Agency will ban most industrial and commercial uses of the carcinogenic chemical methylene chloride, under a final rule announced April 30. A solvent widely used in bathtub refinishing, as well as in paint strippers, cleaners, adhesives and sealants, methylene chloride has contributed to the deaths of 88 workers since 1980, EPA says. Most of the cases stemmed from exposure during home renovation contracting. In some instances, the workers were fully equipped with personal protective equipment.”

Urge DHS to Protect, Empower Immigrant Workers: “Around the world, workers’ lives, livelihoods and rights are under attack. Climate disasters and conflicts are displacing people from their homes, and are increasing risks for working people and all our families. In the face of those challenges, we stand united in our fight for justice for all workers at home and abroad. Immigrants and refugees have always helped to build, feed and care for our nation, and we will not allow them to be treated as a second class of exploitable workers. The AFL-CIO is calling on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take action today to help tear down barriers to worker organizing and empowerment, so that all working people in our country can live and work safely and with dignity.”

AFL-CIO: The Fights for Climate Justice and Racial Justice Are Intertwined: “‘Thinking about movements coming together in the same room today made me think of Dr. King and what he said,’ remarked AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond, the highest-ranking African-American leader in the labor movement. ‘During his days, a term like environmental justice didn’t really exist, but he understood how interconnected these challenges were. Structural racism, economic injustice, and underinvestment in Black and brown communities. He told us in 1967 that the cities were gasping in polluted air and enduring contaminated water. What’s equally important is that he knew the solution, how important it was to stand together in solidarity. Organized labor can be one of the most powerful interests to do away with this evil that confronts our nation that we refer to as discrimination.’”

These Are the Most Dangerous Jobs in America: “Fatalities are on the rise, in part, because some employees are afraid of potential retaliation if they highlight dangerous conditions at their job, resulting in many workers operating in an unsafe environment, AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said in a statement. Employee overdosing on drugs while at work, deadly violence against co-workers and suicides have also contributed to the jump in workplace deaths, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.”

Workers and Activists Across Europe and Asia Hold May Day Rallies to Call for Greater Labor Rights: “Workers, activists and others across Europe and Asia took to the streets on Wednesday to mark May Day with protests over rising prices and government labor policies and calls for greater labor rights. May Day, which falls on May 1, is observed in many countries to celebrate workers’ rights. May Day events have also given many an opportunity to air general economic grievances or political demands.”

Poor People’s Campaign Emphasizes Moral Resurrection of Economic Rights: “‘There is no greater form of oppression than when a country that has immense resources and wealth allows its people to suffer and die from a lack of resources,’ said Fred Redmond, secretary-treasurer of AFL-CIO. ‘Poverty is a failure of the system, it exists because we allow it to exist.’”

Pro-Worker Rules to Help Millions; Republicans Blast Them: “Union leaders cheered—and corporate-backed congressional Republicans slammed—three new Biden administration decisions to help workers and consumers. With deadlines for announcing new federal rules looming, the Labor Department issued two. One orders investment managers for pension plans to put recipients, not themselves, as the top priority. The other raises to $58,656 annually on January 1 the amount of money a worker can earn before becoming ineligible for overtime pay. ‘Expansion of the federal overtime rule will help millions more workers earn the pay they deserve,’ said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. ‘Some public service workers–including those in child welfare, mental health and substance abuse counseling–have been ineligible for overtime pay despite modest wages and the long hours they put in at essential jobs,’ he explained.”

Biden Praises UAW-Daimler Truck Agreement as a ‘Testament to the Power of Collective Bargaining’: “President Joe Biden praised the United Auto Workers and Daimler Truck for reaching a tentative in the eleventh hour Friday night, preventing a potential strike affecting 7,300 workers. ‘This agreement is a testament to the power of collective bargaining and shows that we can build a clean energy economy with strong, middle-class union jobs,’ Biden said in a statement Sunday.”

Labor Leaders Honor Key Bridge Victims on Workers Memorial Day: ‘We Have More Work To Do’: “Sunday was Workers Memorial Day, an annual day of remembrance for laborers killed or hurt on the job, started in 1989 by the AFL-CIO. Thousands of workers nationwide are estimated by the organization of labor unions to be injured or killed on the job each day, and the issue became front and center in Baltimore on March 26 after the six men, all employees of Brawner Builders, died while working an overnight shift filling potholes on the bridge that was struck by a cargo ship early that morning.”

Latino Workers Are Disproportionately at Risk of Dying While Working, Study Shows: “Latinos face a disproportionate risk of dying while on the job in the United States, a new report by AFL-CIO found. Fatality rates have been increasing over the years and continued doing so in 2022, the year analyzed by the organization, reaching 4.6 per 100,000 workers. That is 24% higher than the national average and a 24% increase over the past decade.”

On Workers Memorial Day, AFL-CIO’s Shuler Says Workers Still Pay ‘Ultimate Price’: “Even after decades of enforcement, activism and union campaigning, ‘workers are still paying the price every day’ in deaths and injuries on the job ‘for corporate greed,’ AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler says. Flourishing a copy of the federation’s 33rd annual report, ‘Death on the Job: A Toll of Neglect,’ Shuler told a Labor Department audience the job of campaigning to cut the toll is incomplete. Workers and their allies must lobby for tougher laws against companies and more enforcement, too, she said.”