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COSHCON19 Highlights

Many thanks to all who worked so hard to bring together another amazing National Conference on Worker Safety and Health.   We” ve been looking over the evaluations from the event,   and the feedback we received from participants shows that your hard work paid off at COSHCON19.
“Meeting so many occupational safety and health activists was amazing,” said Yasin Khan, director of public programs at the UC Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program, one of more than 300 participants at this year’s conference.
“What I liked best was the networking opportunities, sense of welcome from other participants, and bilingual nature of the conference,” says Juanita Constible, senior advocate for climate and health for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

As those of you who were able to attend know, COSHCON19 featured three event-filled days, as we learned together about cutting-edge health and safety issues in more than 50 workshops and panels. We also convened intensive strategy sessions on health and safety campaigns and got a chance to see hands-on demonstrations of current safety technology.

“My favorite part of the conference was the opportunity to meet people from such diverse backgrounds and organizations, all united and committed to making workplaces safe,” said Jim McCloskey, a member of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1776 in Pennsylvania.  
Highlights of this year’s program included a keynote address by Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI), vice chair of the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee, who spoke forcefully about his efforts to advocate on behalf of all workers, including immigrant workers.    
We also heard from Elise Bryant, president of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, who shared the story of how her father, a UAW member, witnessed the death of one of his closest friends inside an auto plant. Elise also reminded us that a singing movement is a fighting movement.    
Also at COSHCON19:

  • COSH H&S Film Night: We previewed four compelling films about health and safety issues: “Coal’s Deadly Dust,” “Silo,” “Building the American Dream,” and “Town of Widows.
  • Media Panel: We heard from top-tier journalists- Alison Kodjak of the Associated Press, Gloria Gonzalez of Industry Dive and Michele Salsedo of Axios- with insider tips about how to share stories about critical workplace issues with reporters and editors.
  • “Organizing to Action”panel: Featured trailblazing ideas about workers joining together to fight for safe workplaces, including construction workers in Tennessee, Amazon workers in New York, and airline service workers in Baltimore.
  • Bilingual agenda of hands-on learning: Included sessions on climate change, the opioid crisis, workplace chemicals infectious disease and many other topics, to help workers and activists acquire the tools they need to make our workplaces safer.
  • “It was a very welcoming learning environment,” said Daphne Brown, a masters’ degree student at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center School of Public Health.  

“The workshops were all great, I wanted to be in all of them,” said Mary Luz Barrera from the MassCOSH Workers’ Center. “I felt very happy to share and be surrounded by wonderful people from different cultures.”
COSHCON19 could never have come together without incredible support from COSH groups and our partners in workers’ centers, labor unions, and allied organizations.   And a huge shout out to our many sponsors for their financial support:

AFL-CIO ⬧ American Federation of Teachers ⬧ Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers ⬧ Futures Without Violence ⬧ Hill Rom ⬧ International Union of Elevator Constructors ⬧International Union of Painters and Allied Trades ⬧ International Association of Machinists -CREST ⬧ Karmel Law Firm ⬧ Kazan Law Firm ⬧ Motley Rice ⬧ National Nurses United ⬧ Oxfam America ⬧ United Food and Commercial Workers ⬧ United Steelworkers ⬧ Teamsters ⬧ Workers Compensation Research Institute
Our team at National COSH is honored to be supported by so many dedicated workers, activists and health and safety professionals. Believe it or not, we” ve already got dates lined up for next year’s conference: Wednesday December 9 thru Friday, December 11th, at the Maritime Conference Center.   You can also view highlights from COSHCON18 here.