Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Study Shows Unions Make Workplaces Safer

Unionized construction work is safe work

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

A study from the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS) shows what Electrical Workers (IBEW) have long known to be true, that union jobsites are safer than nonunion ones. The report shows that jobsites that were unionized have lost-time claims at a rate 31% lower than nonunionized sites.

OCS is a joint labor-management organization that represents more than 100,000 union members in the building and construction trades. It financed this study and an earlier version published in 2015. The new study covered worker data from 2012–2018, and showed that unionized jobsites had grown safer since the previous study.

“When our well-trained electrical tradesmen and women work smart and follow the proper safety rules and procedures, they help ensure that every worker on that jobsite gets to go home safe at the end of each working day,” said IBEW First District International Vice President Tom Reid. “We’re pleased to see this report back up our real-world experience, but it should really come as little surprise to the members of our union.”

Reid continued to explain that it was the high-quality training provided by IBEW and other unions that is a crucial part of keeping workers safe. “Preventable accidents harm workers, jobsite morale and a company’s bottom line,” he said, “to say nothing about how much it can harm the reputation of the unions that represent those workers.”