253691 “Can They DO That?”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 2:50 PM

Nancy Lessin, MS , United Steelworkers -, Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education, Boston, MA
In today's workplaces, workers are faced with ever-changing conditions – new materials, equipment, technologies and ways of restructuring work, resulting in speed-up and understaffing, with remaining workers working harder and longer. To add insult to injury, when workers get hurt – often related to these changed conditions - they are told it's their fault by a myriad of “blame-the-worker” policies, practices and programs. While some government health and safety regulations may provide recourse on certain issues, much of what is contributing to worker injury, illness, stress and death is not regulated by a government health and safety apparatus. Workers and their unions, frustrated with management decisions that are increasingly putting their health and lives at risk, ask, “Can they DO that?” This presentation will review some union rights under U.S. labor law to fight back against workplace change that is having (or can have) negative health and safety impacts; and explore some successful workplace strategies that can be used regardless of the legal framework in place.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Describe the ways that workers can protect themselves in the workplace. Explain what unions can do to protect workers under U.S. labor law.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been employed in the field of occupational safety and health for over 30 years, working for the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and the United Steelworkers-Tony Mazzocchi Center, where I am currently Program Coordinator. I served for five years on the National Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, advising OSHA and NIOSH on their policies and programs; and on NIOSH/NORA's "Organization of Work" work-group focusing on health and safety impacts of work restructuring. I have developed educational programs for unions on using provisions of labor law to improve workplace health and safety.
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.