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Safety Committees Give ATU Locals a Seat at the Table

After U.S. President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) into law, the ATU immediately began working to implement the safety provisions to better protect our members on the job. Primarily, the establishment of joint-labor management safety committees gave our members a seat at the table and equal footing to approve safety plans, identify safety hazards, and make recommendations for improving safety performance.

To prepare Local unions for the road ahead, International President John Costa immediately issued memos to our Local union leaders, establishing our rights under the law and providing resources to assist in development on these committees. From April to June 2022, ATU International staff held over 40 meetings with Local union safety committees to educate them about the new safety requirements and discuss the next steps and resources for establishing effective committees that comply with the IIJA.

ATU International then developed and announced a Safety Committee Training starting in August 2022 to educate Local unions about committee rights, responsibilities, and strategies. The training program was developed based on questions and discussions from informational sessions with our Local unions to learn about the safety issues members face every day. Several training sessions have been conducted between last summer and now, with over 300 safety committee representatives from over 70 Locals participating.

This training covered tools and strategies for documenting and recording workplace hazards, a review of Agency Safety Plans and their components, how to analyze risk and control hazards, and the requirements under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Our Union is committed to supporting Local safety committees in their efforts to keep our members safe and healthy and hold employers accountable. Currently, our Union is developing safety training modules, including training on effective safety committees, strategies for controlling industry specific hazards, and tactics for engaging rank and file members in safety campaigns that win better working conditions. These modules will soon be coming to a town near you through the delivery of regional safety committee training programs.