Michigan Workplace Rights Week Sheds Light on Tools to Ensure a Safe and Fair Workplace
April 25, 2022
Michigan employers, employees encouraged to renew their commitment to make workplaces safer in honor of those who lost their lives on the job
To further exemplify Michigan’s commitment to protecting working people and the importance of the labor force to the state’s economy, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed April 25-May 1 as the second annual Workplace Rights Week.
One of the primary goals of Workplace Rights Week is to emphasize the integral role Michigan’s labor force plays in advancing the state’s economy forward, while also educating Michigan’s workforce about their rights to have a safe workplace, to be paid for their work, to organize, and advocate for better protections, while also leveraging their knowledge to create equity in Michigan’s growing economy.
“Michigan is home to the hardest working people on the planet. It was Michigan workers who put the world on wheels, assembled the arsenal and democracy and built the middle class,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Michiganders established and led the Labor Movement that built the 20th century economy, uplifting themselves and their families through historic economic challenges. More than ever, we need this type of solidarity as we work together to continue growing Michigan’s economy, creating good-paying jobs, and delivering on the kitchen-table issues that matter most to families. Together, let’s ensure every Michigander has strong workplace protections and every family has a shot at success.”
Among the origins of workplace rights in America, in May of 1886, both men and women fought for an eight-hour workday and greater workplace rights for all. May 1 is now celebrated around the world as a day recognizing working people.
One of the many hard-fought gains is the right to a safe workplace, and to remind everyone of this critical mission, Worker’s Memorial Day is now observed on April 28 every year across the country. This day remembers the people who lost their lives on the job and serves to advocate for efforts that make workplaces safer and healthier.
In 1970, President Nixon signed into law the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which was designed to ensure “so far as possible every working man and woman in the nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.” After this law went into effect, the incidence rate of nonfatal injuries and illnesses among private industry workplaces decreased dramatically, dropping from 10.9 cases per 100 in 1972 to just 2.8 cases per 100 in 2017.
"We want all of our hardworking Michiganders and employers to understand their rights and have access to the tools that help ensure a safe and fair workplace,” said LEO Director Susan Corbin. “Workplace rights are a critical component to protect and support the long-term success of our state’s workforce, businesses and economy.”
Michigan employers and employees are encouraged to visit Michigan.gov/WorkplaceRights to learn more about their workplace rights and the history of the labor movement.
“Workplace rights that protect Michigan’s workers are in place to support them in a variety of ways, and most importantly were created for fairness, safety and support,” said LEO Deputy Director of Labor Sean Egan. “We encourage all Michiganders to understand their rights so they can feel empowered to better navigate workplace situations that may put them in harm's way, either financially or in health-related matters.”
During Workplace Rights Week, LEO will highlight important facts and resources with the goal of ensuring Michigan continues to have strong communities, a thriving middle class and pathways to prosperity. To learn more, visit Michigan.gov/WorkplaceRights.