FFAW Launches Industrial Focused Safety Campaign
September 15, 2022
ST. JOHN’S, NL – FFAW-Unifor, the largest private sector trade-union in the province, is launching a campaign focused on health and safety issues affecting members. The campaign will run throughout the fall months and will highlight key topics with the goal of bringing change from legislation makers and employers.
“Thousands of our members work in industrial workplaces that experience occupational disease, gaps in safety training, work in buildings with poor infrastructure, and have increased risks to repetitive strain injuries,” says FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan. “Employers routinely cut corners to increase profits, and as result the health and safety of employees is sacrificed,” he says.
FFAW-Unifor’s campaign will draw attention to Workplace NL’s inability to make meaningful progress particularly for seafood processing plant workers.
“For years, our Union advocated for a stand-alone Safety Sector council that would address the needs of plant workers. Finally, in 2019 we were partially successful when a subcommittee was established by Workplace NL,” says Doretta Strickland, Vice-President of the FFAW’s Industrial Sector and employee of Ocean Choice International in Triton. “But it’s now been 3 years and very little, if anything, has been done to improve safety in our workplaces,” Strickland says.
Over the coming weeks and months, FFAW-Unifor will release awareness information on issues like shellfish asthma, ergonomics, mental health, lessons learned from COVID-19 and the effects of long-Covid, as well as the impacts our health care crisis is having on working people. The information will come in the form of visual shareables, infographics, a webinar interview series, opinion editorials, and media releases.
“Rural access to healthcare is a crisis for all of Newfoundland and Labrador, but it’s also a crisis for working people in rural areas,” says Jason Spingle, Secretary-Treasurer of FFAW-Unifor and long-time union representative of both industrial and inshore members. “Many of our members work in processing plants that are hours away from the nearest emergency room. If a serious industrial accident were to happen somewhere like Mary’s Harbour, St. Lawrence, or Harbour Breton, those workers would certainly be in dire straits due to the lack of access to emergency care – or much care at all – in our rural areas,” Spingle says.
“It often takes a serious incident for politicians, government officials and employers to start taking health and safety issues seriously. Our hope is to bring focus to some of these important issues that affect working people day-to-day and pose risks for more catastrophic events,” concludes Sullivan.
For media inquiries, please contact Courtney Glode at [email protected] or call/text 709-743-4445.