Union Education and Organizing

The Union Organizing and Education Initiative strengthens the capacity of unions to mobilize and organize for safe and healthy working conditions. MassCOSH assists unions by:

  • Offering training, technical assistance and support for union efforts to organize for safe and healthy work conditions.
  • Advocating for changes at the policy level by building community-labor coalitions.
  • Building a network of labor health and safety activists who mobilize across unions for safe, healthy conditions and strong government regulations.

Training and Technical Assistance for Unions and Union Members

MassCOSH offers training and assists unions in addressing a variety of health and safety issues including: worker health and safety rights, toxic chemicals, indoor air problems, repetitive strain injuries and other ergonomic problems, workers' compensation and blood-borne pathogens. Unions that become members of MassCOSH receive a free, two hour training. MassCOSH can also link unions with a network of health and safety professionals that can respond to questions, review inspection reports, and analyze chemicals and other exposures. View the The New England Consortium's emergency responder and hazardous waste worker trainings.

Support for health and safety organizing

MassCOSH works with unions and union members to organize to improve working conditions – from addressing excessive workload to chemical exposure.  MassCOSH can provide a range of support, including:

  • Document hazards and health problems, using a range of tools such as hazard mapping and surveys (click);
  • Research chemicals and the availability of safer alternatives;
  • Explore whether hazards violate any state or federal laws
  • Produce a health and safety assessment report (click for example)
  • Develop and support action steps that contribute to workplace safety and health improvements

Union Health and Safety Committees

Health and safety committees can be an effective vehicle for being proactive about work conditions. Setting up a worker health and safety committee is important not only for addressing health and safety problems in union shops but also as an effective organizing tool. MassCOSH provides training and technical support for unions on organizing and strengthening effective committees.

Workers' Memorial Day

Each year, MassCOSH organizes events at the end of April to commemorate Workers' Memorial Day, honoring workers killed, injured, and made ill on the job. The events coincide with the release of an annual state workplace fatality report, Dying for Work: The Loss of Life and Limb in Massachusetts, co-authored by MassCOSH and the Mass. AFL-CIO.