Unions are often outspoken about safety issues and what they perceive to be flaws in the way workplace safety is regulated.
For example, the Ontario Labour Federation has been very outspoken about the lack of so-called C-45 or criminal negligence prosecutions for serious safety incidents. In fact, it launched the “Kill a Worker, Go to Jail” campaign to encourage more such prosecutions.
The United Steelworkers union went a step further and actually launched a rare private criminal negligence prosecution against Weyerhaeuser after a worker smothered to death when he got trapped by debris in a machine that converts wood waste to chips at a sawmill. (The Crown Counsel, however, refused to pursue the prosecution, saying the evidence didn’t present “a substantial likelihood of conviction against the company.”)
Based on the apparent union commitment to workplace safety issues, one might naturally assume that unionized workplaces are safer than non-unionized ones.
But when we recently asked if you thought unionized workplaces are safer:
- 58% said no
- 30% said yes
- 12% said they were unsure.
So if unions are so focused on protecting workers, why aren’t unionized workplaces models of safety?