“Safety is one of the top concerns of the Mail
Handlers Union,” said National President John F. Hegarty. “Our goal is to eliminate all on-the-job injuries
caused by unsafe working conditions and equipment.”
For the past seven years, the Bush Administration has
refused to heed the pleas of unions for safer worksites. The toll of workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths remains
enormous. In 2006, more than 4.1 million workers were injured and 5,703 workers were killed due to job hazards.
In recent years, the Labor Department, which is supposed
to be tasked with protecting workers, has acted as a buffer for corporate interests, and has moved to roll back and weaken
protections for workers. It advocates “voluntary compliance” rather than issuing new protective standards,
or beefing up enforcement and inspections. Although certain voluntary programs have been successful in the Postal Service
– such as the Ergonomic Risk Reduction Process and the Voluntary Protection Program advocated by the NPMHU – such
programs succeed only if buttressed by inspections and mandatory standards, and by active union involvement.
The AFL-CIO will lead rallies, vigils and other activities
on April 28. All mail handlers are encouraged to attend, to pay respect to our fallen brothers and sisters, and to urge
greater action on protecting worker health and safety. For more information, contact your local AFL-CIO office.