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Confronting Practices that Blame Workers and Discourage Injury/Illness Reporting

See below for attached materials.
  • Nancy Lessin [United Steelworkers]
  • Bill Kojola [AFL-CIO]
  • Steve Mitchell [United Auto Workers 974]
  • Mike Phillips [United Auto Workers]
  • Jim Frederick


Jim Frederick  is the Assistant Director of the Health, Safety & Environment Department (HSE) of the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW).  Jim has been with the USW since 1994 working at the Pittsburgh headquarters. Jim is a member of USW local union 9305.   He has a bachelor’s degree in environmental health from Purdue University and a master’s degree in environmental health and safety management from Rochester Institute of Technology.  


The USW is the largest industrial union in North America and has 850,000 members in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. It represents workers employed in the metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, energy, government and service sectors.


The USW HSE Department’s primary task is to assist the union’s membership through their local unions in protecting their health and safety and maintaining environmental health for the communities in which our members and their neighbors live.   The USW HSE Department is comprised of 27 full-time staff and more than 300 local union trainers and activists working part-time for the USW HSE Department on an ongoing basis.  

[email protected]



Bill Kojola  is the Industrial Hygienist for the AFL-CIO. He is responsible for developing strategies for securing new safety and health protections through federal and state regulations; coordinating with affiliates on and leading a unified labor response to proposed OSHA regulations; representing the AFL-CIO before government regulatory agencies, on federal advisory committees, and consensus standard setting efforts; and working with affiliate unions to address emerging workplace hazards and issues. He holds a B.S. degree in Biology and an M.S. degree in Genetics from the University of Minnesota, and studied toxicology and industrial hygiene at the University of Illinois School of Public Health.  

[email protected]




Nancy Lessin, United Steelworkers/ Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education.


Nancy Lessin works on strategic initiatives for the United Steelworkers/Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education. She has worked in the field of occupational safety and health for over 30 years.  Prior to her employment with the United Steelworkers/Tony Mazzocchi Center, she served as the Massachusetts AFL-CIO’s Health and Safety Coordinator, and as Senior Staff for Strategy and Policy at the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH).   Nancy has presented training programs for unions in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and Latin America focusing on a union approach to health and safety- how to improve health and safety conditions while building worker and union voice, member involvement and union strength. She has helped unions establish effective union safety committees, combat “blame-the-worker” safety programs, and challenge harmful work restructuring. She served for five years on   the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH); and also served for five years on NIOSH’s National Occupational Research Agenda “Organization of Work” Workgroup.


She and her husband Charley Richardson are co-founders of Military Families Speak Out, an organization of military families founded in 2002 that has advocated for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the return of all troops and for the care our troops need when they return.


[email protected]



Steve Mitchell, BA is the current Health and Safety Representative for United Automobile Workers (UAW) Local Union 974, representing 5,500 workers at Caterpillar Inc. in Peoria, IL area. Also a H&S Peer Trainer (or Local Union Discussion Leader (LUDL), Steve is a role model for other trainers in defining H&S approaches to building the Union. Steve has completed a Bachelors Degree in Safety and Health at the National Labor College which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. Steve also serves his Local Union as Grievance Representative, Executive Board Member, and most recently, as an appointed representative for the Joint Committee on Safety and Health, a committee which oversees the H&S contract provisions for all UAW-represented Caterpillar worksites. An employee of Caterpillar since 1975, Steve is currently a welding technologist at the Caterpillar Technical Center.

Mike Phillips [United Auto Workers]

[email protected]