Workers Memorial Day 2021

Join us on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 to commemorate Workers Memorial Day – in which we recognize those who lost their lives or were injured while working.

What is Workers Memorial Day?

On April 28, 1971, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act, promising every worker the right to a safe job. Unions and our allies have fought hard to make that promise a reality — winning protections that have made jobs safer and have prevented millions of workplace injuries and illnesses.

But our work is not done. Many job hazards are unregulated and uncontrolled. Some employers cut corners and violate the law. Workers who report job hazards or job injuries are fired or disciplined. Employers contract out dangerous work to try to avoid responsibility. As a result, each year thousands of workers are killed and millions more injured or diseased because of their jobs.

Every year on April 28, the United Steelworkers (USW) Tony Mazzocchi Center (TMC) observes Workers Memorial Day to remember those who have suffered and died on the job and to renew our fight for safe workplaces.

Together with the USW, we pledge to:

  • Defend safety and health protections and rights from industry attacks.
  • Require employers to find and fix hazards and implement a worksite safety and health program, with full worker participation, to prevent injuries, illnesses and deaths.
  • Advocate for stronger workplace safeguards for combustible dust, workplace violence and infectious disease.
  • Prohibit employer policies and practices that discourage reporting of workplace injuries.
  • Increase attention to the safety and health of Latinx and immigrant workers who are at much greater risk of death and injury.
  • Support the passing of the Protecting America’s Workers Act (PAWA) to ensure all workers have OSHA protection, stronger criminal and civil penalties for companies that seriously violate job safety laws, and improved anti-retaliation protections for workers who raise job safety concerns.
  • Ensure workers’ rights to have a voice on the job, and to freely choose to join a union without employer interference or intimidation.

Renew the promise: Save jobs for all

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the inextricable link between workplace safety and health and our communities. The virus has killed more than 500,000 people in this country so far – devastating working families, with a disproportionate impact on people of color.

Unions and our allies stepped up to demand and win job protections from this highly contagious virus. We organized for safe jobs and the right to speak out against unsafe working conditions. We demanded access to the ventilation, respirators and other measures that protect workers from inhaling the virus at work. Given the lack of federal action, unions won protections in states and held state and local leaders accountable.

Organized labor and our allies were key to strengthening job safety to save lives.

You can join in too!

As we grieve those we have lost from COVID-19 and other workplace hazards, we continue to renew our promise. We can:

  • Organize an online campaign to call for stronger safety and health protections using our digital toolkit, which may be found at
  • Hold a virtual candlelight vigil, memorial service or moment of silence to remember those who have died on the job, and highlight job safety problems at workplaces in our community.
  • Host a phone event or webinar with members of Congress in their districts. Involve injured workers and family members who can talk firsthand about the need for strong safety and health protections, the ability to speak up against unsafe working conditions, and joining together in union to keep workplaces safe. Invite local religious and community leaders and other allies to participate in the event.
  • Conduct virtual workshops to empower workers to report job safety hazards and exercise workplace rights. Invite union members, nonunion workers and community allies to participate.
  • Create a memorial at a workplace or in a community where workers have been killed on the job.
  • Create and share an online photo and storyboard campaign on social media to remember workers who have been killed on the job.
  • If you are working during the pandemic, organize an outdoor, socially distanced event at your workplace to stand together to protect all workers' right to a safe job, and to hold your employer accountable for keeping you safe.
  • Invite the press to your Workers Memorial Day events to increase public awareness of the dangers working people face on the job.
  • Come together in person once this pandemic is over. As a labor movement, we “Mourn for the Dead and Fight for the Living” on April 28, and every day of the year.

AFL-CIO toolkit

Click here to visit the AFL-CIO website for more materials including posters, fact sheets and artwork available in English and Spanish.

Other resources

Virtual training opportunity

The USW Tony Mazzocchi Center and Health, Safety and Environment Department is facilitating a training on Wednesday, April 28 at 2 p.m., (ET) in recognition of Workers Memorial Day.

Rebuilding Resilience in Commemoration of Workers Memorial Day

This training is designed for workers and community members to recognize signs and symptoms of stress related to traumatic events, including workplace accidents. This course will also help participants identify how workplace hazards impact mental health and help build resilience by understanding stress reduction, coping strategies.

Click here to register for the training on Wednesday, April 28 at 2 p.m., ET.