UFCW 1518’s Update Magazine took home a prestigious award at the Canadian Association of Labour Media Awards last week.
The first issue of the rebranded Update won the Ed Finn Award for Excellence in Writing for Print for the feature story: Dangerous Homes: Exploring Violence in Homecare Work. Ed Finn is a trade unionist and journalist with a long and illustrious career in labour media.
The story, written by communications assistant Diana Perez, explored the daily violence and unique occupational health and safety hazards experienced by about 2200 UFCW 1518 members working in community health.
“This award is a very important acknowledgement of the work of our communications department,” said Secretary-Treasurer Kim Novak. “Our members face extraordinary challenges, from aggressive pets and loaded guns in the home to physical and sexual abuse from patients suffering from dementia. They work alone in people’s homes, without the support of security guards, colleagues or managers that exists in facilities. But our members are so passionate and dedicated, they are rarely deterred, despite safety risks.”
Secretary-Treasurer Novak said health and safety improvements for community health workers are paramount. “We need to get to a place where everyone understands that violence on the job is never acceptable, ever.” Increased funding is essential to retain community health workers and keep them safe at work, she said.
Bargaining for about 16,000 community health workers, including UFCW 1518 members, began this week. “We will certainly be pushing these priorities at the table,” said Secretary-Treasurer Novak. “After 16 years of neglect, it’s time to make our health care system safe for workers and patients.”