MassCOSH Without State Borders

October 17, 2019

One of MassCOSH’s greatest strengths comes from being a union-run organization. For decades, MassCOSH employees have been members of the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9358 as a show of solidarity with the labor movement. Our union status allows us to participate in union-related activities and help shape progressive USW policies. We also have access to the health and safety resources of a major national union.  Most recently, MassCOSH Director of Policy and Programs Al Vega took part in USW’s annual Health, Safety and Environment Conference.

From September 9 to 13, Vega was in Pittsburgh, PA to learn about the latest developments in the national health and safety movement and to network with fellow safety professionals. Dozens of workshops on a variety of topics were offered each day to help participants learn how to keep their union members safe on the job and how to advocate for better working conditions. Vega also led a workshop with co-facilitator Arturo Achila on the many powerful ways unions can aid in defending the rights of immigrant workers, empowering them to speak up about dangerous conditions and help end the underground economy.

“A progressive labor movement needs progressive voices and ideas within it to help unions lead by example,” says Vega. “MassCOSH can play a leadership role in that mission, educating union workers on the need to protect all workers and using our experiences to craft policies that expand what solidarity means in our current political climate. Holding these kinds of workshops at events like this conference is how we will adapt the labor movement to today’s needs.”