Our Ad in Metro Halifax: Healthy Workplaces Impact Everyone

Metro Halifax will be publishing a special feature “Understand and Appreciating Unions” on April 24th.  This is a copy of our ad that will be published along with the article below.


Healthy Workplaces Impact Everyone
PSAC members have been at the forefront defending and promoting healthy workplaces.  A healthy workplace means a more productive workforce and a healthy household.  We sometimes neglect the impact that our workplace can have on our personal life – this is something that needs to change.
Time is money, yes, but life is also extremely short; therefore, let’s ensure that the time we spend at work does not negatively impact our life as a whole. 
Unions have made significant contributions in ensuring a healthier workplace.  Paid sick leave health and safety laws that includes the right to refuse an unsafe workplace, breaks, proper uniforms/equipment provided by the employer, etc.
Sick? Stay Home
Not only does paid sick leave prevent prolonged illnesses, it also prevents the spread of illness.  How many times have you gone to a store or office and were greeted by an employee who had a cold?  Let’s also face it, working sick can only increase the worker’s probability of injuring themselves while working.  Factors attributed to sickness such as stress, lack of sleep, fatigue and side effects of medication, just to name a few, will have a direct impact on workers on how they will interact with their coworkers and surroundings.
Asbestos is killing Canadians: Asbestos is the leading cause of workplace-related death in Canada. It’s estimated that more than 2,000 people die every year from diseases caused by asbestos exposure, like mesothelioma and lung cancer. Internationally, the World Health Organization (WHO) says there are 107,000 asbestos-related deaths per year.
The labour movement has been extremely vocal on this issue for the longest time.  Thankfully, our hard work is beginning to pay off.  The federal government has announced its commitment to banning asbestos and asbestos-containing products by 2018. This is a long-awaited decision; PSAC has been calling on the federal government to ban the import, export and manufacturing of asbestos for years.
For many affected by asbestos, this ban has been a long time coming.  At PSAC, we are celebrating this decision in loving memory of our brother, Howard Willems, who passed away on November 8, 2012. Brother Willems was exposed to asbestos while on the job, inspecting plants that were being renovated. His exposure led to the development of a rare form of cancer, which is caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.
While battling this vicious occupational disease, Brother Willems successfully lobbied for the introduction of legislation, known as Howard’s Law, requiring all buildings in Saskatchewan containing asbestos to be reported in a public registry.
Brother Willems is only one among too many who have suffered and passed on due to asbestos.
We must celebrate the asbestos ban that will take effect in 2018.  Let it also serve us as a reminder that unions not only work for their membership, but for the entire Canadian population.
Too many workers go to work and never return home – healthy workplace for all workers!