Union health care workers participate in industry-specific training

USW members save lives. Yet every day, their own health and safety is at risk.

The United Steelworkers (USW) represents 4,000 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers across four states.

EMS workers provide lifesaving medical care to thousands of workers each year, yet their very jobs are among the most dangerous in the country.

Workplace violence is a huge threat. Each year 2,000 EMS professionals are injured in violence-related incidents. The rate of violence-related injuries with lost work days for EMS personnel is 22 times higher than the national average for all workers.

The USW Health Care Workers Council (HCWC) teamed up with the USW Tony Mazzocchi Center (TMC) and the USW Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Department to establish a comprehensive health and safety training program to help USW’s siblings take steps to make their safety a priority.

On May 31 and June 1, EMS workers in California participated in two days of training tailored to their needs. It provided information they need to make sure their employers are doing what is needed to protect them. On the second day of the training, the EMS workers were joined with paper sector workers from California, and the entire group learned about how having a strong union program can help them achieve safer workplaces.

The training was co-facilitated by TMC Worker-Trainers Kim Corona of USW Local Union 12-1853 and Amber Stoer of Local 12-12911, along with HSE Department Casual Staff Christine Sakalosh and Anthony Thayer. They teamed up with USW and TMC staff to lead lively discussions and share tools for making changes at work.

“In EMS we face so many hazards on the job,” Stoer said.

“I’m excited that our union understands the unique situations we work in and has put together training specifically to give us the tools we need to help us.”

Photo credit: Scott Weaver, USW New Media