International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local (ILWU) 6 recognized Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) staff Suzanne Teran, Dinorah Barton Antonio, and Valeria Velazquez (formerly with LOHP) for providing health and safety training to almost 250 workers in the recycling industry.
Hundreds of workers, family members, and supporters attended the special event in March 2015 organized to celebrate the winning of a fair wage and benefit standard in Alameda County recycling facilities represented by ILWU Local 6.
While presenting a campaign commemorative poster to LOHP staff, a recycling worker described the risks they face on the job, including dust, needles, and other items that are unexpected in the line, as well as ergonomic hazards. She talked about the way the trainings helped workers take action when they see a problem, such as using the conveyor belt’s emergency stop button to prevent injuries while sorting.
In their second year of training workers in Fremont, Oakland, and San Leandro, CA, LOHP added new curriculum materials to address confined space hazards and heat illness prevention. Also in year two, Teran and her colleagues offered three days of leadership training at the facilities represented by ILWU Local 6.
“The idea was to train health and safety leaders to be resources within their facility in addition to integrating health and safety into the leadership role that they already played with the union,” says Teran.
Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison and city council members from Oakland attended the celebration to lend community support to those striving to improve conditions in Alameda County’s recycling industry.
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