Nov 2, 2011 CUPE National Convention 2011 www.cupe.ca
Bill Chedore, picture by Andrew Chernoff
More than two hundred and fifty attendees packed the Health and Safety forum for a rousing discussion on issues facing workers. Concerns over a lack of enforcement of health and safety regulations fuelled the session, as members shared experiences from their workplaces.
Despite having some of the best health and safety legislation in the world, Canada continues to lag behind other developed countries in reducing the rates of injuries and deaths at work.
Ensuring the health and safety of workers is at the heart of union values, and many members spoke on the importance of making sure that the issue remains a top priority for CUPE.
Several members focused on the issue of violence in the workplace, and highlighted the difficulty they face in reporting incidents of violence, often as a result of pressure from the employer.
Members also addressed the importance of recognizing psychological hazards like stress as a real health and safety concern. Concrete regulations and policies need to be developed and enforced to address the issue.
The safety of young workers was another major topic of discussion, as several members highlighted their employer’s failure to provide timely health and safety education for new hires.
The discussion was led by guest moderator Bill Chedore, the National Coordinator for the Canadian Injured Workers Alliance, while National health and safety committee members and CUPE staff were on hand to answer questions.