2021 Workers’ Memorial Day Scholarship Essay Contest

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Each year during Worker Memorial Day ceremonies on April 28, workers, legislators, members of organized labor unions, worker advocates and others gather together to honor the memory of those workers who have lost their lives because of workplace injuries or illnesses. The ceremonies highlight the sacrifices made by these workers and of the families left behind and inspire us all to work harder on behalf of the welfare of all workers.

This year the Connecticut AFL-CIO Health and Safety Committee, as part of its efforts to “mourn the dead but fight like hell for the living,” wishes to acknowledge the efforts and sacrifices made by the workers whose work kept them potentially exposed to the wrath of the SARS Covid virus. These included doctors, nurses, nurses’ aides and other health care professionals who cared for the sick and dying, emergency responders, grocery store workers, public transit workers, delivery drivers, teachers and many others. They also included maintenance and housekeeping workers, workers in meat-packing plants and those whose work was done behind the scenes. Some of these workers became ill from the virus, some of those recovered from it while too many succumbed to it, but all their sacrifices illustrated that there is no price for workplace health and safety. 

The theme of the 2021 Worker Memorial Day Scholarship Essay Contest will highlight the efforts and sacrifices of the workers of today and of this pandemic.  Connecticut high school seniors are being asked to choose from one of the following prompts and respond in an essay of 1,000 words or less that demonstrates that they have been inspired and personally affected to seriously think about the importance of workplace health and safety and of the consequences that arise when workers are forced to toil in unsafe working conditions such as what has occurred and continues to occur during the SARS Covid pandemic.  All entries will be judged anonymously.

  1. Based on your own work experiences during the SARS Covid pandemic describe how your awareness has increased about the importance of workplace health and safety for workers?  Your experiences could be at school, in the community, or if you are employed, on your job.
  1. What is your analysis of the role that unions have played in keeping workers safe during the SARS Covid pandemic?
  1. How have various essential workers on the front-lines or people who you know been specifically impacted by being required to continue working in their workplace during the SARS Covid pandemic? 
  • 1st Prize is $1,500
  • 2nd Prize is $1,000
  • 3rd Prize is $500

PDF icon 2021_wmd_scholarship_essay_contest__flyer.pdf

This essay contest is open to all Connecticut high school seniors. Please email the completed essay and application to pamela.ctcosh@snet.net or send it to

683 North Mountain Road
Newington, CT  06111               
ATTN:  Pamela Puchalski

The essay and application must be received by April 1, 2021.