Workers Memorial Day 

Fifty years ago on April 28, the Occupational Safety and Health Act went into effect promising America’s workers the right to a safe job. 

While the law was a great step forward for private sector workers, public employees were exempt. It would take Ohio’s public sector workers another 23 years, including an eight-year battle in the Legislature, to end this deadly discrimination and win the same workplace protections.

Without OSHA protections Ohio public employees could not even refuse to enter an unsafe area if they believed their lives were in danger.

The law was won because of the tireless efforts of Ohio’s AFSCME unions which organized for safer working conditions and demanded government action. While the law passed in the Ohio House several times it always died in the Senate.

The law for the first time created a legal obligation for public employers to provide a workplace free of recognized hazards.

Unions and our allies have fought hard to make that promise a reality in Ohio and across the nation. But our work is not done.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the inextricable link between workplace safety and the health of our communities. Organized labor will continue to organize and strengthen job safety to save lives and make the workplace a safe place.

6800 North High Street, Worthington, Ohio, 43085-2512
Phone: 614-841-1918
Fax: 614-841-1299