In this Easter season of the Christian church, we have just celebrated Resurrection Sunday and the joy we feel that Jesus overcame death. However, my preacher, the Rev. Betty Connette of West Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, noted in her Easter sermon that believing in the resurrection is not the important part. The important part is what we do with our belief in the resurrection. How do we live the resurrection?
As Christians in a consumer-driven, corporate-dominated society, we must be as concerned as Jesus was about all people — especially those workers who receive lower pay and who are under-protected but who also keep this economy going for all of us. How do we keep workers from being crucified by our greed? Do we support fair living-wage pay and safe working conditions so that our communities affirm doing unto others as we would to Jesus?
The Economic Policy Institute, reports that “over 4,800 workers are killed on the job every year. That means 13 workers lose their lives on the job every day. Tens of thousands more die of occupational disease each year and almost 3 million more suffer a serious job-related injury. Yet, within the first 100 days of the Trump administration, Congress and the President have already launched attacks on worker safety and rolled back worker protections that would have saved lives and prevented injuries.”
It is reported by the AFL-CIO that more than 150 workers died in North Carolina in 2015, the last year for which data is available. Yet our Department of Labor in NC is short on inspectors who can find and acknowledge safety violations or impose significant fines.
We hope you plan to attend the Workers’ Memorial Day event with a commitment to live lives with the resurrected Jesus and stand up for workers’ rights and protections. May we encourage state legislators and Congress to pass life-giving safety regulations and fund enforcement inspectors.
Solemn memorial service and press conference on Workers’ Memorial Day
Friday, April 28, 10 a.m.
Old State Capitol building (south pad/Morgan Street)
1 East Edenton Street, Raleigh