Thursday, April 28, 2005

Workers Memorial Day: The Global Dimension

As we remember workers who have died on the job, we need to think about more than their "bad luck." The International Labor Office, in its report "A Fair Globalization." emphasizes the interconnectedness of economic insecurity and poor working conditions around the globe, and argues that a minimum level of socio-economic security is essential to cope with the strains of globalization. Economically vulnerable workers have little power to advocate for improved working conditions and job safety.

Lest we think that this is a problem only in faraway countries, one need only read the weekly toll of fatal workplace accidents in the U.S. to see that immigrant workers, an especially vulnerable segment of the workforce, are disproportionately represented. Beyond these tragic workplace deaths lies a vast global toll of ill health connected with various forms of economic and job insecurity, not to mention workplace exposures to hazardous substances.
From an Op-Ed by Steve Hecker, associate professor at the University of Oregon's Labor Education and Research Center