I’m a proud board member of the Philadelphia Area Project for Occupational Safety and Health (PHILAPOSH), an organization that advocates for safety on the job for workers, and advocated for workers who have been injured or killed while providing for their families.
I attended PHILPOSH’s 39th Annual Awards Night Reception, on Friday, November 17, 2023, where we honored workers who stood up for safe workplaces. The awards were named after the following Labor heroes:
Tony Mazzocchi, active in the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers Union (OCAW), who campaigned for passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, and called for an independent Labor political party;
Karen Silkwood, a laboratory worker in the Kerr-Magee plutonium processing place in central Oklahoma, who found that her coworkers were contaminated by radiation, and she sought to report it and gather documents about it. She was found dead in her car, on her way to seeing a reporter, with documents as evidence;
and Crystal Eastman, born in Massachusetts in 1881, who was a Labor attorney, feminist, journalist, and peace activist. She co-authored the Equal Rights Amendment and organized the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Eastman was also an advocate for workers, campaigning for workers’ compensation laws, and for workers injured on the job and their families.
The awardees were:
Paul Grubb, an organizer for District Council 1199C, NUHHCE, AFSCME, and PHILAPSOH board member;
Rodger D. Frey, Jr., who graduated from Rutgers University who held positions in industries concerning environmental and safety issues in workplaces, before working for OSHA starting in 2005;
Nick Gummel, a member of IBEW Local 98, serving as Safety Director for the Local and IBEW safety Council Co-Chair. He’s also on the Safety Committee of the Philadelphia Building Trades Council, a certified OSHA instructor, and CPR First Aid instructor;
and the Women’s Caucus of the United Passenger Rail Federation (BMWED-IBT), who led a campaign within their membership for paid parental leave in their collective bargaining agreement with Amtrak. This was copied by many other craft unions within Amtrak.
These are true working-class heroes, workers who banded together and fought for their right to have a safe worksite to go to. For further information about PHILPAOSH, contact https://philaposh.org/.