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Letter: Unions protect workers from job injuries, death

2009-05-03T00:00:00Z Letter: Unions protect workers from job injuries, death The Billings Gazette
May 03, 2009 12:00 am

Montana ranks second-highest in the nation for workplace fatalities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, tasked with assuring safe workplaces, is so understaffed that it would take 132 years for OSHA inspectors in Montana to inspect each workplace once.

For the past eight years, workers have been left in increasing danger as the Bush Administration sided with anti-worker corporate interests, overturning or blocking dozens of important workplace protections and weakening safety programs. With the election of President Obama, we have a real opportunity to win stronger health and safety protections and make OSHA work for America's workers.

With the protection of a union, workers can raise job safety concerns without the fear of employer retaliation that is experienced by thousands of unrepresented workers each year. Many unions operate their own training programs that teach skill training with an emphasis on safe, productive work processes.

Unions give workers a voice. Union workers meet with their employers as equals - even partners - in developing good workplace safety plans. Through unions, worksite safety and health concerns can be addressed and risks can be reduced or remedied. As a result, these workplaces are safer for the worker, more profitable for the employer, and more appreciated by the community.

Support and promote the Employee Free Choice Act as a means to give Montana's workers a safer workplace now!

Jim McGarvey

Executive Secretary

Montana AFL-CIO.


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