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Remember the Dead, Fight for the Living

As Workers Memorial Day, April 28, 2008, came upon North Texas, I was on the phone talking to a construction worker whose metal saw got away from him and took off part of his head. He was looking for an attorney, but I was sad to tell him that it's almost impossible to get an attorney to take a workers comp case in Texas under the current law. The corporations had their way with the legislature back in the 1980s, and injured workers have suffered since.

In fact, the current legislature is hell-bent on making it worse.On this Workers Memorial Day, a Texas Senate committee began considering a variety of civil justice issues, including the Entergy v. Summers case, according to Texas AFL-CIO Communications Director Ed Sills. Since British Petroleum had to compensate some of the people they blew up in Texas City, big corporations have been looking for loopholes in the current law, and the Texas Supreme Court obligingly built them one. Unions and other progressives are determined to get the legislature to get job safety for temporary workers, but the Entergy case would leave them helpless when corporations disregard safety rules.

Also on Workers Memorial Day, news came that the top leaders of the labor movement in Honduras had been murdered. Don't ever get used to hearing about unionists being murdered, even though we hear about it way too much. In Colombia, the country that President Bush is pushing for a new "trade" agreement, they murder about one a week! Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson condemned that so-called "free trade" treaty. She also put a resolution forward honoring Workers Memorial Day. It's below.


Washington, D.C. - (April 28, 2008) Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson today acknowledged Workers Memorial Day, a holiday that commemorates workers who have been injured, made ill or killed on the job. On Thursday, April 24, Congresswoman Johnson introduced HR 1154, a resolution recognizing Workers Memorial Day. The text of the resolution follows:
Supporting the mission and goals of Workers Memorial Day in order to honor and remember the workers who have been killed or injured in the workplace.
Whereas each year, more than 5,500 workers are killed due to workplace-related injuries in the United States, and more than 2,000,000 workers across the world die of workplace-related accidents and diseases;
Whereas each day, an average of 16 workers are killed due to workplace injuries in the United States;
Whereas there are more than 4,000,000 occupational injuries and illnesses in the United States annually;
Whereas tens of thousands of Americans with workplace injuries or illness become permanently disabled;
Whereas worldwide, more people are killed each year at work than in wars;
Whereas observing Workers Memorial Day allows us to honor and remember victims of workplace injuries and disease; and
Whereas observing Workers Memorial Day reminds us of the need to strive for better worker safety and health protections: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
(1) recognizes Workers Memorial Day to honor and remember workers who have been killed or injured in the workplace;
(2) recognizes the importance of worker health and safety standards;
(3) encourages the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, industries, employers and employees to support activities aimed at increasing awareness of the importance of preventing illness, injury, and death in the workplace; and
(4) calls upon the people of the United States to observe such a day with appropriate ceremonies and respect.


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