More than 350 members attended the health and safety forum at the CUPE National Convention in Quebec City, a record high according to organizers.

Guest speaker Maria Luisa Regalado from the Honduran Women’s Collective (CODEMUH) spoke passionately about how “maquila” workers—who work primarily in clothing factories—are expected to maintain extremely high production levels.

“Some of these women are injured so badly by their work that they cannot even lift their own babies,” said Regalado.

Participants also heard an emotional discussion on bullying in the workplace. Lawrence Novecosky of CUPE 3967 in Saskatchewan is a survivor of a toxic workplace. He shared his experience working under a bully manager. He told participants about the full impact of bullying in the workplace, including fatal suicides by his colleagues and another harrowing suicide attempt that led to changes, including the removal of the bully manager and changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act in Saskatchewan.

Céline Giguère, a CUPE National Health and Safety Representative from Quebec, introduced delegates to a CD that she developed for Quebec members to combat bullying in the workplace. The CD is currently a work in progress in English and will be a welcome tool for CUPE members to help stop bullying, harassment and violence in all our workplaces.

James Chai