HOUSTON WORKERS' MEMORIAL WEEK
WHAT IS WORKERS' MEMORIAL DAY?
Every April 28, national and local community, labor and faith organizations observe Workers’ Memorial Day to remember those who have suffered injuries and died on the job, to raise awareness about dangerous working conditions, and to renew the commitment to fight for safe jobs locally.
2019 PLANS TO COMMEMORATE WORKERS
As last year, Houston will organize both an action and vigils to commemorate Workers' Memorial Day:
DAY OF ACTION: PRESS CONFERENCE AND PUBLIC COMMENT AT CITY HALL
Why? Most of deaths from workplaces are preventable and are the result of employer's greed and policy-makers inaction. We want to uplift safety policies and recommit to better protections to people at work.
When? Tuesday, April 23, 11:00am - 3:00pm (UPDATED TIME)
Where? Houston City Hall (901 Bagby St, Houston, TX 77002)
Who? Those who believe that everyone has the right to come back home after a day of work: workers, activists, faith and community leaders.
DAYS OF COMMEMORATION: VIGILS ACROSS THE CITY OF HOUSTON
Why? Our congregations are where we celebrate and mourn life, and workers and their families deserve our faith's support. Moreover, lives and work are sacred, so the call to make workplaces safe is a moral one.
When? Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28, 2019
Where? Many congregations across the city of Houston (see participants below)
Who? St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Christ Church Cathedral, Dominican Sisters of Houston, Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church, and St. Andrew's Episcopal Church.
WHY COMMEMORATE WORKERS' MEMORIAL DAY WITH YOUR CONGREGATION?
People of faith and congregations play a key role in Workers Memorial Day because many fallen workers are people of faith and their families need faith leaders’ support in mourning. Secondly, both workers and employers in dangerous industries belong to congregations, and Churches highlight that the call for safe jobs is a moral one.
This commemoration is particularly important in our community because Texas is the state with highest work-related fatal injuries in the whole country, and consistently about 20% of those deaths in the last decade occur in the city of Houston.
This year, April 28 falls on Sunday, and we are inviting churches across the city to dedicate some of their services to the fallen workers of 2018. Our goals are to:
- Honor those who died serving their communities by building homes, transporting goods, and other noble but dangerous tasks, and
- Raise awareness among workers and employers in dangerous industries to put safety first.
HOW CAN MY CONGREGATION PARTICIPATE?
The Workers' Memorial Day centers around the reading the names of people who died while working in the previous year. The reading of names is usually accompanied by ringing of bells or candle lighting for each name. We invite members of the congregation or service committee to organize this event alongside our volunteers.
Our volunteers are available to come over and briefly explain the common dangers at work and how to get involved to move our business leaders, elected officials, and our co-workers to make workplaces safer for the future. Posters similar to the ones attached are available to participating churches.
Some options for participation are:
Dedicate one of the services to fallen workers
Read the names of workers at the end of the service (takes about 8 minutes – see below).
Create an altar for workers
Display posters in the lobby of your church
WHO ORGANIZES THIS EVENT?
In Houston, Workers Memorial Week is organized by a diverse coalition including, Faith and Justice Worker Center, Houston Gulf Coast Building and Construction Trades Council, Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation (AFL-CIO), Workers Defense Project, the Painter's Union, the Occupational Safety and Health Agency, and amazing academic and faith-driven volunteers, including Celeste Monforton and Greg Shaw.