Unions play an important role in making workplaces better for workers. That work shows up in a myriad of ways. For the City Union of Baltimore, Local 800, one of the ways the union does this is by working to make job sites safer for Baltimore city employees. Following the tragic workplace death of CUB member Trina Cunningham, the union has led the fight in the city for worker safety.
To that end, CUB, in conjunction with AFT-Maryland and the AFT national federation, provided a two-day safety workshop for CUB stewards, health and safety committee members, and staff to learn and share best practices. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)10-hour intensive training sessions examine every aspect of workplace safety. The training, which was led by Keith Wrightson and Amy Baruth from AFT Health Issues, covered everything having to do with general worker safety including workplace surfaces, workplace infrastructure, and use of tools. Members were given course materials to read and study as the training took place and were put in hypothetical situations to demonstrate their understanding of how to keep themselves and others safe.
The collaboration among the local union (CUB), the state federation (AFT-Maryland) and national (AFT) demonstrates the structure and effectiveness of the AFT. The state and national federation were able to provide resources to support the efforts of CUB who identified a need for their membership and delivered the training members needed.