May 3-9 marks North American Occupational Safety and Health week, an important chance to raise awareness on the importance of safe workplaces. This year, with the onslaught of COVID-19, we have all been reminded about the importance of safety in coping with this crisis.
Health and safety measures in our workplaces are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. During this crisis, unions and health and safety organizations have been working tirelessly to make sure the front-line workers keeping our province running and the public they serve are as safe as they can be.
OPSEU has been in discussions with the government and employers to stress the need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and insist safety precautions are put in place. We have named and shamed employers and managers who have resisted doing the right thing. We have pushed the government to issue surgical masks to all workers and visitors in the province’s jails. We have fought with the LCBO to increase sanitization, provide face shields for workers, install plexiglass barriers and implement in-store social distancing policies. We have achieved many workplace safety successes, but our work continues.
We can expect COVID-19 will be a major issue in our workplaces for many months. OPSEU will continue to fight for all measures that will ensure the health and safety of workers. We also acknowledge the work of our fellow unions and health and safety associations across North America who are consistently doing the same. To these brothers and sisters – our allies in this fight – we stand with you.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, First Vice-President/Treasurer