Posted in 'Mazzocchi'

United Steelworkers (USW) oil workers convened at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pa., this month for a week-long health and safety training specifically shaped for their industry. The training on Aug. 10-14, 2015 was lead by TMC Program Coordinator John Scardella and USW Health, Safety and Environment Specialist Kim Nibarger. Worker-trainers Lori Kelso, Billy Edington and Joe DeRita were also there to co-facilitate.

The oil workers who took part in this training had missed an opportunity to take part in the 2015 USW Health, Safety and Environment Conference, due to a nation-wide USW oil strike, where union member battled for safer conditions and their rights as workers.

Oil Workers
Posted In: Health and Safety, Mazzocchi, 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

Kristina Mazzocchi is the daughter of a legendary occupational health and safety activist, a resonating voice within the labor movement, and so much more: Tony Mazzocchi. Professionally, Kristina is a lawyer for a workers’ rights-centered legal practice that focuses on workplace health and safety. She is an activist and organizer for all workers, continuously and courageously keeping her father’s lifelong work and memory alive. Matters of her career consist of asbestos and environmental tort cases, and general employment and labor affairs. Kristina is currently structuring a partnership with three other attorneys developing a foundation, where profits gained from asbestos cases will be returned to occupational safety and health. In honor of her father’s birthday this month, Kristina shared her personal reflections and photos of Tony Mazzocchi.

By Kristina Mazzocchi

FlippTony Mazzocchiing through the many photos that I have of my father, Tony Mazzocchi, I came across one that really struck me. Not because of its historical importance or depiction of him fighting the good fight, of which there are many. It is just a picture of him casually standing in front of a large redwood tree with his hand resting on a sign reading, “THE IMMORTAL TREE.”  The tree is over 950-years-old and apparently survived great floods, lightning strikes, the attack of loggers and just the plain ol’ havoc of time. My father was a visionary labor leader, progenitor of the occupational safety and health movement, friend, ally, and mentor to thousands, father of six, grandfather to seven, and great grandfather to one.

Let Tony Mazzocchi forever be the immortal tree: His roots, his ideas, planted deep into the consciousness of the labor and occupational safety and health movements, and of anyone who was lucky enough to share a meal at his table. Let him be a reminder of what we have accomplished, and what there is still left to do. The United Steelworkers Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education does this every day.

As a movement builder, he had the unique capacity to inspire, agitate, instigate, and galvanize really anyone who came into contact with him leaving no one out. Workers, students, scientists, doctors, presidents, professors, environmental activists, public health professionals, all of them, all of us, instantly transformed into deep-thinking, dedicated doers, committed to being the branches of the Tony Mazzocchi tree.

Now that I am working with and representing workers inflicted with occupational diseases – such as asbestos and other occupational exposures – while also working with immigrant workers to organize against the health and safety abuses they are subjected to, I take every opportunity to try and inspire more committed visionaries and doers, more branches on the Tony Mazzocchi tree. Recently, I was working with Mahoma Lopez, leader of the Laundry Workers Center, a NYC-based worker center, and he showed me a presentation he was giving to immigrant workers across the city. There on one of the slides read, “A worker has the right to return home safely and alive at the end of the day.” Mahoma told me that he heard me saying this when talking about my father’s work, and why I do the work that I do. Now that quote will be one of the mantras of the new labor movement – a new branch of the tree is growing.

Posted In: Mazzocchi

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

The United Steelworkers (USW) and Tony Mazzocchi Center (USWTMC) today joined with workers throughout North America in marking Workers' Memorial Day. Each April 28, the union commemorates the workers who lost their lives on the job and rededicates itself to the goal of eliminating all workplace hazards.

In a ceremony in the lobby of the USW International Headquarters, fellow union members read aloud the names of the 39 USW workers who lost their lives in the past year. As each worker’s name was read, members rang a bell and extinguished a candle.

Guest speakers included International Vice President at Large Carol Landry and International Vice President of Administration Tom Conway.

Click here for the names of workers honored today.

Posted In: Health and Safety, Mazzocchi, USW

Steve Doherty Training Coordinator, USW District 2

OSH training in OmanThe role of the USW Health, Safety and Environment efforts reach across the borders on many occasions. As a leader in union safety, the Steelworkers’ model is again being shared with the new General Federation for Oman Trade Unions. In conjunction with the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center, and following the efforts with the Kurdistan United Workers Union last year, USW District 2 Training Coordinator Steve Doherty facilitated workshops in the cities of Muscat, (April 5 and 6) and Sohar, Oman (April 8 and 9).

The week also included daily meetings with the union leadership and Ministry of Labor to assist with the development of the GFOTU’s health, safety and environment efforts and the role of the union in the development of labor standards.

“It is an exciting opportunity to witness the birth of a union movement and to take a look back at the history of the USW and labor movement in the United States,” Doherty said. “It is an honor to be representing the USW as the first American and first union to conduct training in Oman for the workers.”

The GFOTU currently represents 211 workplace unions, which are organized under two sector federations (oil and gas, and industrial). The GFOTU is considering working to establish sector unions in tourism, electricity and potentially construction. The GFOTU held its founding Congress in 2010, and held a second (and board elections) in 2014. It is worth noting that unions began to form in Oman around 2006.

“It was a good opportunity to work with the Steelworkers and the Solidarity Center. It was very helpful...and they [workshop participants] got a lot of experience from the Steelworkers,” Moosa Ali Al Huseini, head of councils and committees for the GFOTU, said.

As per Omani law, a workplace may be formed with 25 or more employees. GFOTU bylaws suggest that after the implementation of at least five same-sector unions, or what USW refers to as local unions, a sector-specific federation may be established. A sector-specific federation is comparable to a USW sector such as paper industry workers.

Non-Omani workers can join unions, but cannot hold office. On the GFOTU board, there is a representative that heads the migrant worker committee. The national project of “Omanization” has brought private sector employment levels to about 70 percent Omani. At the subcontractor levels, it is much lower and migrant labor force participation is much higher.

Workshop expectations included developing training participants’ knowledge of international labor standards related to occupational safety and health (OSH); educating participants on the role of labor unions in applying OSH standards in the private sector; learn about international best practices to activating the union role in applying OSH standards in the private sector; and laying out tools to support more active contribution of unions and the membership in the field of OSH-specific study and legislation.

In Muscat, the workshop had 30 participants (including one woman) and two representatives from Ministry of Manpower. All are leaders of workplace oil and gas unions, plus board members from the oil and gas sector federation and GFOTU. At the end of the workshop it was announced by the president of the oil and gas union that all participants in the training would be part of the formation of an OSH committee in the oil and gas sector union.

In Sohar there were 30 participants from private sector companies representing general industries along with two representatives from the Ministry of Manpower.

Workshop attendees shared some concerns including, “many companies are not respecting OSH standards, which is driving workers’ concerns;” “workers generally have a low level of awareness of safety standards;” “danger allowance” as requested by some workers who face dangerous workplace conditions; and “many companies are providing poor quality PPE.”

Some questioned how the Oman standards compare to the U.S. and other international worker standards and what were some legislative changes in U.S. in past few years. The answer to the second question opened up discussion on silica standards and heat stress awareness.

Besides concerns, the attendees also commented on positive steps to ensure occupational safety and health. One participant talked about worker outreach regarding OSH before unions formed, and how it helped to build trust among workers. Another who works at large oil company talked about a positive experience in developing a system to reduce heat risks and possibility to expand that best practice. With temperatures reaching over 110 degrees Fahrenheit, there were many concerns raised and questions on how to deal with the hazard of heat and heat stress in the workplace.

Finally, one participant talked about the importance of dealing with Human Resources, feeling that “workers don’t hold the power to implement and change policies.” Another put it differently by stating “How can we encourage employers to do the right thing regarding OSH?”

To address these concerns and build off some of the forward-thinking plans, the USW Systems of Safety approach was introduced and was very well received and embraced by the workshop participants. They were eager to learn about how to raise awareness and eliminate workplace hazards, build solidarity, improve the working conditions and engage the membership. The concept of the USW Tony Mazzocchi Center’s worker-trainer model now has the union leadership exploring how they can develop their own worker-trainers.

In both cities, day one of the workshop consisted of body mapping and hazard mapping small group activities, comparing their developing labor standards to the U.S. and other international standards, and a discussion among the sector leaders’ strategic planning for the future.

Injuries mentioned during the body mapping activity included: chemical, air quality, heat (especially in extreme summer weather), stress, hearing loss, heavy lifting, and back issues from driving/sitting, cancer, vulnerability of hands and fingers, and radiation exposure. Many groups mentioned the importance and priority of personal protective equipment and worker awareness.

During the hazard mapping activity the participants were able to identify where the injuries are occurring and how to move away from PPE to eliminating the hazard instead, through design or mitigating the hazard using the USW’s Hierarchy of Controls and Systems of Safety.

Comparing U.S. labor standards with the Oman standards occurred. Presentations on the U.S.’s “Right to Know” and “Process Safety Management” revealed the depth and detail of the nation’s standards. The discussion included the USW’s and labor’s role in gOSH training in Omanetting these standards established and ensuring compliance within the worksites.

Day two of the workshop concentrated on building effective union safety committees in the facilities and sectors along with strategy discussions to strengthen the union voice at the table with the labor ministry and the companies in the future.

The leadership of the GFOTU expressed interest in developing a relationship with the USW as the future unfolds, to share ideas on the world of global safety and build solidarity among workers everywhere. The resources that the USW has will be a valuable asset and model for the efforts of the GFOTU in the future.

“It’s been great to work with the United Steelworkers, and also with the General Federation of Omani Trade Unions, working on building unions by developing skills in the area of occupational safety and health,” Francesca Ricciardone of the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center said.

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

April 7, 2015: Day three photos - Sohar, Oman workshop

Update: Training Coordinator extends occupational safety and health awareness to workers in Oman

About one year later, Steve Doherty is again traveling abroad to exercise occupational health and safety training for laborers. In 2014 he visited the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and is now continuing his efforts in Oman, located in the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Doherty is the training coordinator for United Steelworkers (USW) District 2 and is also heavily involved with the Kevin Wilson Initiative.

Doherty spent the first day in Muscat, Oman working with representatives from the General Federation for Oman Trade Unions (GFOTU) who are focused on raising OSH awareness with their members. The day consisted of learning and practicing body mapping and hazard mapping concepts.

In an email update Doherty shared, “Day one class in Muscat went great. GFOTU members were interested in our body and hazard mapping. [They] will use these tools to raise awareness and focus their efforts with the safety committees (which we will be covering tomorrow) along with identifying areas to create OSH standards in their country.”

View photos from day one below and on Flickr.

Posted In: Health and Safety, Mazzocchi

Yesterday concluded Steve Doherty’s second day of training in Muscat, Oman. This workshop concentrated on building effective union safety committees in the facility. It also focused on shaping a structure to strengthen union voice at the table with the labor ministry and companies in the future. Doherty will continue his training in the city of Sohar for two more workshops, spanning over two days.

Doherty updated, “The leadership of the GFOTU is interested in developing a relationship with the USW as the future unfolds to share ideas on the world of global safety and build solidarity among workers everywhere.”

View class photos from day two below.

Posted In: Health and Safety, Mazzocchi

The Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Organization is filling an accounting (JL-E) position in the Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The available position is a salaried position with a 501-(C)3 organization known as the Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Organization (SCEO). Within the SCEO the Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health Safety and Environmental Education (TMC) is funded primarily by federal and state grants. This position is not employment with the United Steelworkers (USW).

If you are interested in requesting consideration for this position, please notify TMC Program Director Michael Gill at For more information about the position such as job duties and requirements, click here.

TMC logo

Posted In: Mazzocchi

The Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Organization (SCEO) is considering filling a Curriculum Writer/Program Coordinator position at the Tony Mazzocchi Center (TMC) for Health, Safety and Environmental Education in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The available position is a salaried position with a 501-C3 organization known as the Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Organization. Within the SCEO, the TMC operates under grant funding from federal and state grants as well as occasional foundation awards. This position is not employment with the United Steelworkers (USW).

If you are interested in requesting consideration for this position, please notify TMC Program Director Mike Gill reachable at 412-562-2324. To apply for this position, and view the job description and requirements, click here.

USW Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education

Posted In: Mazzocchi
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