Posted in 'CWA'

USWTMC Specialized Emergency Response Trainers (SERTs) initiated deployment to North Carolina in response to Hurricane Florence. The SERTs are on the ground to provide guidance and training to union members, workers, communities and volunteers, who are recovering from the destruction. Those who are recovering, cleaning up and rebuilding face a myriad of hazards associated with hurricanes and flooding such as mold, infectious disease transmission and more.

Week One: Sept. 23-29, 2018

Week Two: Sept. 30 to Oct. 6, 2018

United Steelworkers (USW) District 9 SERTs Calvin Bozeman of Local Union 675 and Billy Edington of Local 288 continued their deployment this week in North Carolina. Heading into Sunday, they continued to reach out to contacts previously shared with them and discussed possible training opportunities.

The SERTs traveled to Wilmington on Monday, where they drove through communities affected by the hurricane.

“We were able to do one-on-one training with some of the people who were out in their yards working on the consequences of the hurricane,” Edington said.

They handed out 42 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) booklets with health and safety information on protecting oneself while facing hazards associated with floods, hurricanes and mold exposure, within the communities.

Bozeman and Edington continued on to Riegelwood and met with Alexis Clemmons of USW Local Union 9-738, representing members at International Paper (IP). Clemmons is also a USWTMC worker-trainer. They provided Clemmons with 140 NIEHS booklets to handout at her monthly local union meeting that evening.

Their last stop of the day was at Natmore Baptist Church in Kelly, where they distributed 160 more NIEHS booklets.

The SERTs continued making contacts on Tuesday with nearby USW Local Unions 1025 and 438, Ville910age representatives and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local Union 1208. They delivered 560 NIEHS booklets UFCW Local 1208, representing workers at Smithfield Food Processing in Tar Heel.

At a Lowe’s in Whiteville, they provided one-on-one training sessions for 18 individuals using the NIEHS booklets.

On Wednesday, Bozeman and Edington traveled back to Ville910age, a nonprofit and community organization in Fayetteville, to pick up more NIEHS booklets from their contact, Alexis Andre. There they met with Isaac Gobern of the North Carolina AFL-CIO and Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 24 members from Columbus, Ohio, who brought a truck full of supplies for those affected by the disaster. Together the SERTs and USW Local 9-959 members helped them unload their truck.

The SERTs went on to the American Red Cross shelter in Leland, which was housing 146 displaced residents. They distributed 100 NIEHS booklets.

They later discussed upcoming training scheduled for Friday and Saturday with Gobern, and concluded their day providing one-on-one training to individuals at a nearby Lowe’s.

The SERTs provided a two-hour mold awareness course on Thursday for 22 participants, and another on Friday for seven more participants. Participants included pastors, community leaders, local residents and members of the International Association of Machinists, District 110.

Bozeman and Edington facilitated another two-hour mold awareness training on Saturday for seven more participants which include members of USW Local 959, North Carolina AFL-CIO, Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local Unions 3680 and 32035, and Teamsters Joint Council 13. They were also able to reach displaced residents in the lobby of their hotel that morning, distributing 12 NIEHS booklets. The SERTs deployment ended on Sunday, as they traveled back home.

Posted In: AFLCIO, CWA, Environment, Health and Safety, Labor Institute, Mazzocchi, MRNY, NDLON, USW
Posted In: AFLCIO, CWA, Environment, Health and Safety, Labor Institute, Mazzocchi, NDLON, USW

The Tony Mazzocchi Center partnership completed a successful training on Ebola and Other Infectious Diseases last month, resulting in the interest for further education for exposed workers.

Ebola and Other Infectious Diseases training - 7/18/2015On July 18, union members from the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE-CWA) convened at the UPTE-CWA Local Union 9119 hall in Berkeley, Calif., to participate in a class focused on exposure to these communicable diseases. The group yielded a diverse variation of workers across industries such as telecommunications and healthcare, social working and clinical lab specialists. Representatives from UPTE-CWA Local Union 9119 and CWA Local Unions 9408, 9423, 9410, 9404 and 9415 were present.

“There weren’t any frontline workers in the class such as RNs, but there were certainly a number of other workers just as easily exposed,” Local 9119 Vice President Jamie McDole said, “like clinical lab folks handling blood samples and various other staff at hospitals, social workers, case managers, researchers and animal lab technicians who all deal with infectious diseases.”

McDole took the lead in organization this training, reaching out to nearby local union leadership, stewards and other campus activists.

Joan Lichterman serves as the safety and health director for Local 9119 and also the occupational safety and health trainer for the CWA District 9 public sector. She shared that this training is specifically important to telecommunications workers too, as job tasks consist of servicing hospitals, labs and other areas where disease may be transmitted.

The eight-hour course opened with awareness of infectious diseases and how they are transmitted, but then expanded into workers’ rights and employers’ responsibilities, implementing the hierarchy of controls, organizing committees to tackle health and safety issues, and other points of discussion.

“This training was more than an awareness-level course,” Industrial Hygienist Bernie Mizula said. Mizula facilitated this training and as part of the TMC partnership, developed the curriculum. “Protection against infectious disease is best achieved by proper implementation of the hierarchy of controls, beyond awareness and PPE.”

During the training another focus was directed toward laws protecting workers, their understanding of the laws, and how to utilize committees to reach goals set to protect worker safety and health.

“We talked about the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (§3203 under Cal/OSHA) and how members can use it,” Lichterman said.

“It’s interesting because employers have said they don’t want a ‘one size fits all’ program and with this, every employer customizes their own plan that works for them and addresses the issues,” she continued. “This is something that unions can use to make sure it is done properly and organize.”

Before wrapping up the training, CWA Occupational Safety and Health Director Dave LeGrande addressed the class on the importance of organizing to promote and ensure safe and healthy workplaces.

“The training provided a comprehensive coverage of a union approach to identifying and controlling Ebola and other infectious diseases for University of California healthcare and affected telecommunications workers,” LeGrande said.

“Due to this training, participating members and health and safety activists will better be able to ensure their employer is providing safe and healthful working conditions, as well as to spread the word and involve coworkers in the union’s safety and health efforts.”

Efforts to expand this training to other workers in areas where Ebola and infectious diseases are capable of spreading are in progress.

“The medical community and other exposed workers need more help and attention,” Mizula said. “I hope we can develop more robust curriculum in the future.”

Photos courtesy of Joan Lichterman.

This training project is supported by grant number 2 U45 ES06175 from the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), NIH.

Posted In: Health and Safety, Mazzocchi, CWA

By Nikki Pollo

On May 1, the United Steelworkers Tony Mazzocchi Center and their affiliates were granted an award for Ebola Biosafety and Infectious Disease Response Training by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS, NIH). The award will span over the course of three months, ending on July 31, 2015.

Along with the USWTMC, the partnership includes the Communications Workers of America (CWA), Labor Institute, Make the Road New York (MRNY) and National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON).
Utilizing this award the partnership will build a cadre of health and safety professionals, both English and Spanish speaking, who will assist with instructing selected worker-trainers throughout numerous industries who will then share their knowledge in perspective fields. These trainers will demonstrate curriculum on Ebola awareness, as well as other infectious disease and bloodborne pathogens.

Most all health and safety professionals within the partnership are already certified in hazardous waste operations and emergency response training. As a result of their current certifications and newly practiced disease awareness training, these experienced trainers will be available in times of crisis and epidemic to assist in responding to emergencies.

Labor Institute Director Les Leopold explains that the Ebola infectious disease supplement allows the group to transfer their hazardous waste training skills to the area of infectious diseases.

“Many USW-represented workers will be asked to work in and around people who may carry highly contagious diseases,” Leopold said. “These workers need and deserve training.”

The TMC partnership represents 60,000 healthcare workers, 50,000 airline flight attendants, airline airport agents, and thousands of immigrant workers employed as community healthcare workers, airline cleaners, baggage handlers, and other cleaners in and around hospitals designated as Ebola treatment care centers, among multiple other industries. The workers represented above are the most at risk of being exposed to Ebola and other infectious diseases.

“This pilot program allows us to begin training a wide range of workers at medical facilities, community health workers, airport cleaners and airline personnel,” Leopold said. “Our pilot grant allows us to train trainers who will conduct four-hour awareness level programs on Ebola and other infectious diseases.”

The material developed for this training was created and piloted in the field by health and safety expert Bernard Mizula (MS, CIH, CET, CHS-V, RPIH), who is contracted to work with the TMC on this and many other projects concerning his expertise. The first implementation of this curriculum was presented during classes facilitated by Mizula at the 2015 USW Health, Safety and Environment Conference.

The partnership is currently preparing these professionals and working on the training of at-risk workers. An opportunity targeting healthcare workers who are members of UPTE-CWA Local Union 9119 is scheduled for July 18, 2015 in Berkeley, Calif.

Posted In: Health and Safety, Mazzocchi, USW, CWA

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