The United States did surprisingly well in this summer’s World Cup. Partially due to the Americans’ performance, a bit of soccer fever seems to have permeated many aspects of American life. Most recently, it seems to have inspired a discussion about worker safety in Congress. Interestingly though, the discussion was not directed towards keeping American workers safe.
A number of lawmakers have become concerned about the fate of workers tied to the 2022 World Cup. This championship series will not be held in the U.S. but will instead be held in Qatar. A member of the House Education and Workforce Committee has even introduced a resolution aimed at protecting foreign workers who will be employed to build infrastructure and stadiums for the event.
Workplace safety is a serious concern abroad. However, it is also a serious concern domestically. An unacceptable number of preventable work accidents lead to worker deaths and injuries every year in the United States. And oftentimes, even if a worker survives a workplace accident, sustaining a workplace injury means being forced to navigate disability.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with discussing the benefits of ensuring worker safety in nations other than our own. America is a world leader and it is therefore arguably both proper and justified that our lawmakers would concern themselves with the fate of workers abroad. However, it is imperative that lawmakers also prioritize discussions about numerous safety issues plaguing the U.S. workforce. There is no reason why the fate of World Cup workers abroad cannot also inspire a discussion about how to keep American workers safer as well.
Source: The Hill, “Dems push for worker safety ahead of 2022 World Cup,” Mike Lillis, July 24, 2014