We are pleased to report that Worksafe and the Warehouse Worker Resource Center (WWRC) have received a $150,000 grant from the State Bar of California to advocate for economic stability and safe and healthy workplaces for temporary workers. Worksafe and WWRC’s partnership will incorporate policy and legal advocacy and worker empowerment to support and promote the economic stabilization of temporary workers employed through staffing agencies. These workers are part of a fast-growing sector of the economy, but are excluded from many of the laws and regulations that protect workers and often overlooked by organizing efforts. We look forward to building a coalition and developing strategies to address the unique health and safety issues facing temporary workers, as well as working with WWRC to help bring economic security to so many workers left vulnerable by the precarious status of being a “temp.”
Worksafe Managing Attorney Jora Trang and Staff Attorney Nicole Marquez had the honor of receiving the COSH Social Justice Award at the National Conference for Worker Safety and Health Awards Banquet on Wednesday, December 7. Jora and Nicole were recognized for their hard work and commitment to promoting diversity and social justice within the COSH movement.
For many of us, we are sobered by the reality of the coming year’s challenges to worker protections and attacks on immigrant, LGBT, and communities of color. While it is important to recognize these obstacles, it is equally important to recognize our accomplishments. The passion and dedication that won our past accomplishments fuel and reaffirm our commitment to worker power and social justice.Read more...
by Nicole Marquez, Staff Attorney
Workplaces should be free of violent threats or actions, and workers should always feel safe while at work. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Workers in the janitorial services, who are disproportionately immigrant and workers of color, are particularly vulnerable to sexual assault and violence at work*. Many often face other unfair and unsafe working conditions. In its report, the Labor Occupational Health Program at UC Berkeley (LOHP) found that some janitorial workers do not receive minimum wage, and many do not receive overtime payment. Many often work at night and in isolation. This isolation from co-workers and the public reduces the likelihood that anyone will intervene or witness assaults against them, and allows harassers to exert even greater control over workers.Read more...
Hotel housekeeper Musculoskeletal Injury and Illness Prevention
Worksafe, in solidarity with UNITE HERE, its members, and all non-unionized hotel housekeepers, has been working to push the Musculoskeletal Injury and Illness Prevention Standard. We are optimistic DOSH will propose a standard that includes specialized training for hotel housekeeping employees and supervisors, an increased role for employee representatives, protocols and procedures for early identification of musculoskeletal injury, and record keeping. We have been generally encouraged by the work of the Standards Board, DOSH staff, and the advisory committee so far. Unfortunately, at the last Standards Board meeting, DOSH moved back its estimate for proposing language for this standard from the end of October by “three or four” months.Read more...
by Nicole Marquez, Staff Attorney
Last Thursday in Oakland, California, we celebrated a major victory for worker health and safety: our state became the first in the nation to pass a regulation preventing workplace violence. As a leader in progressive health and safety laws, our state will set the example for other states to follow - and hopefully, the entire country.
In March, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a final rule on exposure to respirable crystalline silica. Federal efforts to protect workers against silica date back to the Great Depression, when Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins mounted a campaign to eliminate harmful exposures. For 20 years now, OSHA’s regulatory agenda has included updating its outdated rule to catch up to the long-established science on harmful exposure levels. The final rule on silica, which goes into effect in June 2017, does just that. The rule is expected to save 600 lives each year, and prevent 900 new cases of debilitating diseases resulting from silica exposure.Read more...
Only strong worker organizing can guarantee that jobs in the so-called green economy will be healthy and safe for workers.
Former Worksafe Executive Director Gail Bateson contributed to this op-ed, which originally appeared on Alternet on March 30, 2016.
Americans have made a decision: We’re throwing away the throwaway economy. Curbside recycling is available in more than 9,000 municipalities, and one-third of America’s waste stream is now diverted from landfills.
It’s great that we’re conserving raw materials, saving money and reducing the greenhouse gas emissions. Now it’s time to make another decision: We need to raise pay and improve working conditions for recycling workers. These are green jobs and good for the environment. But they are also dangerous, with high rates of serious injury and even the risk of death.
Reclaim Labor! Reclaim Lives!
Oakland-based Collaborative, Worksafe, Street Level, and Centro Legal de la Raza to Host Workers Memorial Day Event, April 28th, 2016
Oakland, CA – An Oakland collaborative of community and advocacy organizations, Worksafe, Street Level Health Project, and Centro Legal de la Raza will host a Workers Memorial Day event on April 28th, 2016 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Oakland. Workers, advocates, and allies will meet at the Lake Merritt Amphitheatre located between 12th Street and 1st Ave. on Lake Merritt Blvd. in Downtown Oakland. Participants will then march in solidarity to City Hall located at 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. At 5:30 p.m. at 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, there will be a short memorial program featuring workers, labor, government agencies, and advocates. A moment of silence will be observed to mourn workers who passed in the workplace in the prior year.Read more...
17 Recent Fatalities; Workers Injured at Twice the Average Rate
East Bay Workers Take Action to Make Jobs Safer
OAKLAND, CA - A new report, released Tuesday, June 23 by environmental, occupational safety, and community benefits experts, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, finds that recycling work is unnecessarily hazardous to workers’ health and safety.
Seventeen American recycling workers died on the job from 2011 to 2013, including at least three in California. Recycling workers are more than twice as likely to be injured at work as the average worker.Read more...