250385 Developing Worker Leaders among Warehouse Workers: Targeting hazards rooted in work organization for a contingent workforce

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Deogracia Cornelio, MA , Labor Occupational Safety & Health Program/IRLE, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Veronica Alvarado , Warehouse Workers United, Fontana, CA
Moises Escalante , Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice-CLUE IE, Los Angeles, CA
Sheheryar Kaoosji , Warehouse Workers United, Fontana, CA
Over 200,000 warehouse workers, the majority of them immigrants, are employed through staffing agencies in the largest hub of goods movement in the nation, the Inland Empire of California. These workers typically receive no training and are pushed to work fast and hard with no chance for a permanent job that complies with basic labor or health and safety laws. Violations and injuries are commonly ignored by staffing agencies, which intimidate undocumented and desperate workers into not reporting problems. WWU, CLUE and UCLA-LOSH are collaborating to train a group of core leaders to conduct interviews with 100 warehouse workers, help develop curricula built on their findings, and subsequently train other workers. The training program is being gradually developed, combining existing curricula on health and safety and leadership development with new material relevant to the needs and characteristics of the group. In this process, we are redefining the scope of health and safety training to respond to the needs of a specific worker population and to newer forms of work organization. We are also identifying and documenting trials, errors and successes associated with efforts to educate and empower Latino immigrant workers with limited literacy and English-speaking skills. Based on results of workers' involvement in needs assessment, peer education and collective action, we will contribute to a conversation about working conditions in this industry and about effective models for the development and evaluation of programs meant to educate and empower low wage immigrant workers.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Describe workplace health and safety conditions for warehouse workers Discuss ways to address working conditions for Spanish-speaking, low-wage, immigrant, warehouse workers through educational programs Formulate proposals for effective ways to develop and evaluate programs to educate and empower Spanish-speaking, low-wage immigrant workers

Keywords: Workplace Safety, Immigrants

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a staff at Warehouse Workers United, co-facilitating training and coordinating program activities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.