CHERRY HILL, NJ – U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) announced plans today to introduce a bill in the House of Representatives to make Workers Memorial Day a federal holiday. Workers Memorial Day is observed annually on April 28 to remember those who have died on the job, and to renew efforts to create safer working conditions for all workers.
“On Workers Memorial Day, we honor those who have lost their lives on the job, and today, our nation is facing both a grave public health emergency with many health care workers and first responders giving their lives to save others,” said Congressman Norcross. “Those American workers are heroes, and they deserve a federal holiday in their honor.”
Each day 275 workers die from hazardous working conditions, according to AFL-CIO’s 2019 ‘Death on the Job Report.’ A total of 5,250 American workers died on the job in 2018, a two percent increase from 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The COVID-19 crisis has had a serious impact on American health care workers. Over 9,000 U.S. health care workers have become ill with COVID-19, and at least 27 workers have died, according to a CDC report published on April 14. Food service workers have also lost their lives, with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) reporting that at least 30 supermarket employees have died as a result of COVID-19. That led UFCW Local 360 President Sam Ferriano to suggest the idea to Congressman Norcross that Workers Memorial Day should be a federal holiday in honor of their sacrifice.
Norcross added: “Now more than ever, we must recommit to stronger safety and health protections for our essential workers on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19. I will continue to fight at every level for safer workplaces for American workers.”