Friday, April 18, 2003

Working Conditions Improve Due to Labor Struggles

Found a good article that talks about the role of Canadian unions in the struggle to improve workplace safety and health:
It was 1963, the year that coincided with the birth of Canadian Occupational Safety, that Joe Morris, then vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress, set out the principles that have guided labour in its efforts to protect the lives, health and limbs of employees in the workplace.

“It is the responsibility of the government to set minimum standards of working conditions; it is the responsibility of management to provide safe and comfortable working conditions; and it is the responsibility of labour to ensure that the conditions it enjoys are safe, and that they are maintained that way."
The article highlights labor's contribution to addressing the hazards of asbestos, toxic chemicals, workplace stress, ergonomics, mining and the new issues like work processes.

Something to consider in the great debate over whether unions should devote resources to workplace health and safety. Makes you feel like the fight is worth it.

(This article is one of several interesting articles to the 40th anniversary issue of Canadian Occupational Safety magazine. Check it out.)