The increasing number of equality-seeking members in our workplaces means we need to take a closer look at health and safety issues. Racism, sexism, ageism and other “isms” continue to raise their ugly heads in our workplaces. Discrimination and differential treatment mean many equality-seeking group members are under-employed.

Many work in low-paying jobs and poor and unsafe working conditions. Often these workers may be subjected to extreme heat, poor ventilation, exposure to asbestos, mold, toxic fumes and dangerous cleaning solvents and other hazardous chemicals. Some of them work with unsafe equipment and without any safety precautions or safety training.

Despite human rights legislation, education and employment equity programs, intolerance continues in our workplaces. This bigotry and bias poses a serious health and safety hazard for CUPE members. Many suffer emotional distress and psychological injury as a result of discrimination.