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16th Annual Workers’ Memorial Day mass meeting, Tuesday, April 28th

22 June 2015 No Comment

Photo by Cynthia Newhall with Cooperation Jackson

June 22, 2015

Injuries and fatalities at work continue to plague workers in the US. The national rate for workplace fatalities is at 3.3 per 100,000 workers. However in Mississippi the fatality rate is nearly double at 6.2 per 100,000 workers. Nationally, during 2013 some 4,585 workers died from workplace injuries. In Mississippi 68 died during the same period—more than 1 death weekly, rarely reported in the media.

Foreign born workers—immigrant or migrant–die in alarming numbers. 542 were killed during the same period. The leading countries of origin for these workers are Mexico 300, El Salvador 52, Guatemala 37, and India 35. In 2013, Latino workers continued to be at increased risk of dying on the job, with a job fatality rate that is 18% greater than the overall job fatality rate of 3.3 per 100,00 workers. For human rights advocates and workers’ unions this is unacceptable.

For a number of years April 28th has been declared Workers’ Memorial Day. Scores turned out for the noon-time event held at the Masonic Lodge on J.R. Lynch Street in Jackson. Sponsored every year by MIRA, the Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights, One Voice, Mississippi Conference of the NAACP, Mississippi Alliance of State Employees-CWA, UAW Region 8, Cooperation Jackson, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Local 1529 United Food and Commercial Workers, and the new Fight for 15 movement, speakers joined the discussion from each organization.

Each legislative session MIRA has been part of efforts to enact a labor department, occupational health and safety coverage, and a reform to Mississippi’s workers compensation laws. These efforts have been pushed down by legislative leadership who are more interested in protecting the greed and wealth of the corporations than the lives of the workers who produce their wealth.

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