Fighting for Safety on the Job

From the AFL-CIO

Monday marked the 107th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in New York. After claiming the lives of 146 young immigrant garment workers, this tragedy drove working people to join together and demand safe conditions on the job. More than a century later, we’ve made enormous strides forward. But we’re still fighting for our right to work without risk of injury, illness or even death.

Disasters like the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire can seem like a sordid history that has been put long behind us. Nearly 50 years after the Occupational Safety and Health Act was signed into law, surely working people can go to work confident that they will return safely to their families at the end of their shifts.

Yet, that is still far from the case. From headline-grabbing tragedies like the Upper Big Branch mine disaster to chronic diseases that quietly haunt workers for years, we still face dire threats to our well-being. Coal mine deaths rose by 87.5 percent last year.

Instead of taking steps to bolster worker protections, President Donald Trump is taking us in the wrong direction. From hiding statistics on worker deaths to cutting workplace inspectors, the Trump administration continues to side with powerful corporate interests over the basic freedoms of working people.

We have given our time, blood and sweat to build the most prosperous nation on earth. And we’re joining together and fighting for the decent working conditions that we deserve.

Posted In: Union Matters

Union Matters

Members of Local 7798 achieve major goal with workplace violence policy

From the USW

Workers at Copper Country Mental Health Services in Houghton, Mich., obtained wage increases and pension improvements in their contract ratified earlier this year, but the benefit Local 7798 members were most proud of bargaining was language regarding workplace violence.

The contract committed the employer to appoint a committee, including two members of the local, to draft a workplace violence policy. Work quickly began on the policy, and just last week, the committee drafted and released its first clinical guideline focusing on responding to consumer aggression toward staff.

“We are so excited to have this go into effect,” said Unit Chair Rachelle Rodriguez of Local 7798. “This was a direct result of our last negotiating session.”

The guideline includes the definition of aggression and an outline of procedures, all of which will be reviewed yearly. And though this is just a first step in reducing the incident rates and harm of workplace violence in their workplace, it still is a big one for the local, and it wouldn’t have been possible without a collective bargaining agreement.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work