Workplace Safety & Health

RSS

Safety and Health: Hazards in the Retail Workplace

blog_photo_hazards

One of the examples provided in the guide.

The UFCW Occupational Safety and Health Office has released a guide that lists the workplace hazards that may occur in a retail workplace. The hazards listed in the guide are all violations of the standards set forth in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and should be immediately reported to a supervisor and a union steward or union representative.

The guide, which can be accessed on the UFCW Safety and Health website, provides photos of examples of the hazards that violate OSHA standards, in order to help workers and supervisors identify and eliminate workplace hazards.

The BPA Act: Fighting Breast Cancer among Women in Manufacturing

BPA is a toxic chemical that has been linked to increased rates of breast cancer among women in many job sectors, including food packing. (Infographic by the BlueGreen Alliance)

BPA is a toxic chemical that has been linked to increased rates of breast cancer among women in many job sectors, including food packing. (Infographic by the BlueGreen Alliance & UFCW)

Even today, women who work in middle-class jobs across America face pronounced barriers and gender discrimination in the workplace, as exemplified by the recent Demos report on gender inequality in retail wages. However, workplace inequality can manifest in other, more subtle ways – such as the manufacture of products containing Bisphenol-A, or BPA.

BPA is an endocrine disrupting chemical, which alters hormone production and behavior, disrupting the body’s normal functions. In a 2012 six-year study, BPA was found to have a pronounced effect on women who work in the automotive plastics and the food packaging industries.

These women are five times more likely to have breast cancer than women who work in other industries.

BPA, which is found in the epoxy lining of the metal food can and released into the air during the food canning process, was banned by the FDA in the manufacture of baby bottles, sippy cups and infant formula packaging. Many private companies have taken further steps to remove BPA from products. However, BPA exposure is still a problem for thousands of manufacturing and packaging workers in America.

In order to address this problem, the UFCW has joined allies such as the Communications Workers of America, the United Steelworkers, and the United Automobile Workers in supporting the Ban Poisonous Additives Act, or the BPA Act.

The BPA Act would remove BPA from food packaging, encourage the development of safe alternatives, and ensure a thorough safety review of all currently used substances in food and beverage containers. It is currently in committee in the House, where it needs to be passed by the House and the Senate and approved by the President before it becomes a law.

This brochure, produced by the BlueGreen Alliance and UFCW, contains useful information about the growing problem of breast cancer among working women.

Port Truck Drivers Need Your Help!

Picket Power MemeToday, the nation’s port truck drivers are on strike, standing up and sticking together to put an end to sweatshop-like conditions and harassment at work.

These port truck drivers are bravely putting themselves out there to stop such treatment–happening right here in America. But they need our help.

Workers like Dennis Martinez and Byron Contreras, on strike at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long beach, are two of the many who handle more than 40% of the clothing, food, medicine, and other important goods that the U.S. imports from overseas, that comes in  through these ports.

The truckers on strike have vowed to continue striking until the abuses they suffer at work are stopped. They are no longer willing to stay silent while being stripped of basic civil rights at work, made possible due to an illegal misclassification scam that their employers and powerful big business interests have schemed up.

What exactly does that mean? Well, the drivers have to pay their employers to work. Trucking companies deduct all of their expenses from the truckers’ paychecks, including the cost of fuel, insurance, truck lease, and maintenance. The employers are even charging them to park their trucks at their own truck yard!

While all of this is going on, giant retailers like Walmart continue getting richer off of the hard work of these port truck drivers.  Without the drivers, big box stores and other retailers wouldn’t have any merchandise in their stores. So why are they being mistreated so badly?

Emboldened by their fellow workers at Walmart and Fast Food restaurants around the country who have stood up for their rights, the port truck drivers have joined the movement, even in the face of death threats and firings. Federal and state authorities have also called out the trucking companies, issuing formal complaints about wage theft and other mistreatment, but the companies continue to break the law.

This is in fact the fourth time in 11 months that the drivers have gone on strike. They continue to do so in order to give their families a better life, and improve the working environment for thousands of truckers across the United States, who keep our country and economy rolling.

These brave workers need financial support to make up for wages that they aren’t earning while on strike. They’re risking everything to make our country a more fair and just place and could use our help.

Please help your brothers and sisters by watching this video and contributing to the Justice for Port Drivers Hardship Fund. All donations will go to support port drivers like Byron and Denniswho are on the front lines of the strike.

Contributions can be made to Labor Community Services AFL-CIO, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) the port campaign has an agreement with to hold and properly distribute funds that is affiliated with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.

Contributions to the Port Drivers Hardship Fund can be made in one of two ways:

  • Contribute online via PayPal at www.laborcommunityservicesla.org, or
  • Mail a check made out to “Labor Community Services” and include “Justice for Port Drivers Hardship Fund” in the memo. Please mail checks to:

Labor Community Services AFL-CIO

2130 W. James M. Wood Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90006

ATTN: Justice for Port Drivers Hardship Fund