Black and Latino workers die on the job at disproportionate rates, new report shows


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By Char Adams, NBC

Black workers’ job fatality rates are the highest they’ve been in nearly 15 years, and Latino workers die on the job more than any other group, according to a new report from the AFL-CIO, a coalition of dozens of unions representing 12.5 million people.

In 2022, the most recent year for which data is available, 734 Black workers died while working — largely in transportation accidents, homicides or exposure to harmful substances or environments — up from 543 in 2003. That was the most deaths in 19 years. Meanwhile, the number of Latino workers’ deaths rose from 794 in 2003 to 1,248 in 2022. Sixty percent of Latinos killed on the job were immigrants.

“The alarming disparities in workplace fatalities among workers of color are unacceptable, symptomatic of deeply ingrained racial inequity and the need to pay increased attention to the dangerous industries that treat workers as disposable,” AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said in a statement.

The death rates on the job by race are in stark contrast with the racial breakdown of the American workforce. As of 2021, the most year for which recent data is available, white people made up 77% of the U.S.’ workforce, while Latino workers made up 18% and Black employees 13%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“This report exposes an urgent crisis for workers of color and reaffirms what we’ve long known: When we talk about justice for workers, we must prioritize racial equity,” the report said.

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These workers are also more likely to earn less than their white peers.

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