When President Obama eulogized the 29 dead miners of the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion this weekend, he noted that no one should “put their lives at risk by simply showing up to work.” Unfortunately, it’s not just miners who fear for their lives while making a paycheck; deaths on the job are unfortunately entirely too common. In its annual report on worker deaths, the AFL-CIO found that 5,214 workers died on the job in 2008. That’s 14 people a day.
|By: Tula Connell Thursday September 25, 2008 1:30 pm|
Before she became the first female Labor secretary in 1933, Frances Perkins had seen firsthand the tragedy of Manhattan’s 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire. Locked in by their employer, 146 mostly young girls died when they couldn’t escape the burning building where they toiled in sweatshop labor. Later, as the New York industrial commissioner, Perkins held employers accountable for workplace safety and health, expanding factory investigations and championing other pro-worker laws, like unemployment insurance.