Labor Day was created as a way to pay tribute to the worker’s of American, particularly those in trade and labor organizations. Today, trade organizations and labor unions are often categorized in negative terms, even while studies show these organizations save lives.
A history of the IBEW notes that: “Some statistics support the fact that one out of two men who entered the industry did not survive their first year.” Currently the United States Department of Labor estimates “The annual fatality rate for power line workers is about 50 deaths per 100,000 employees.”
An article reporting on a federally backed study on the hazards of working in mines concluded, “In the past two decades, there have been 18-33 percent fewer traumatic injuries per miner in union mines than nonunion mines and 27-68 percent fewer fatalities per miner, according to a draft of the study sponsored by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.”
An ILR review study purports that “After controlling for patient and hospital characteristics, the authors find that hospitals with unionized R.N.’s have 5.5% lower heart attack mortality than do non-union hospitals.”
In Rhode Island “Between 1998 and 2005 there were 354 fatalities at non-union workplaces throughout New England. During those same years, there were 77 deaths at unionized locations, according to OSHA figures.”
Whether you like unions or not, there’s something to be said for organizations that may very well increase your chances of celebrating another Labor Day.