Index to Interviews for Health and Safety

Health and Safety Advocates

Crowsnest Pass Coal Mining Community Group Interview 1: The 13 people interviewed together in Coleman reflect various relationships with mining in the Crowsnest Pass.

Crowsnest Pass Coal Mining Community Group Interview 2: The nine people interviewed together in Coleman reflect various relationships with mining and life in the Crowsnest Pass.

Drumheller Valley Coal Mining Community Group Interview (re: 1930s to 1970s): The 4 people interviewed together in Drumheller in 2003 discuss

Lisa Dubbeldam‘s work in community nursing caused her to become an advocate for full assessments and adequate staffing to support the needs of her patients.

Leon Dyrgas and Bill Pasemko were long-time miners in Canmore-area mines. When the mines closed, they received no severance pay and Dyrgas received no pension while Pasemko received a pittance of a pension.

Dewey Funk describes nurses’ struggles against management in their efforts to secure safe working conditions in Alberta hospitals and the Edmonton Remand Centre.

Bruno Gentil spent fifty years working for the mines in Coleman as first a horse trainer and driver, then later as a blacksmith.

Tilly Herman, a miner’s daughter in East Coulee, and a miner’s wife in Drumheller, recalls the lives of miners’ children and wives, both in terms of hardships and community entertainments.

Cathy Jones was a long-time registered nurse in both Toronto and Banff when she became involved in heritage work in Canmore that included museum displays of the lives of miners, miners’ wives, and miners’ families.

Kate Jacobson is an internal organizer for the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) who describes her earlier oppressive working conditions in non-union jobs and her years as a social and environmental militant.

Laurie Lang, RN, RPN, served as president of the Alberta Hospital Edmonton local where he was particularly active on Occupational Health and Safety issues.

Barb LeBlanc is a Registered ICU Nurse and former Staff Nurses Association of Alberta (SNAA) president, who used the Professional Responsibility process to challenge changes affecting the effectiveness of nurses in fulfilling their roles, and helped bring SNAA into UNA in 1997 to better fight for nurses and patients.

Liz and Steve Liska describe the many dangers of working underground as well as the day-to-day experience of work and life raising a family in Coleman and Bellevue. 

Dennis Malayko was health & safety officer for AUPE, creating the government’s joint worksite health and safety program, as well as initiating efforts to create both provincial and national occupational health and safety organizations with strong union presence.

Lori McDaniel – As a heavy equipment operator at Suncor, Lori McDaniel experienced the sexist discrimination faced by women in non-traditional jobs, as well as an uphill struggle to promote occupational health and safety and progressive politics. 

Jerry Macdonald, a former president of CARNA, transferred out of hospital nursing to community nursing because understaffing at a time of increased patient acuity and demands on hospital nurses made his ICU work unbearable.

John Mitchell grew up in the coal-mining town of Luscar and became a coal miner like his father until the Coal Branch mines were all closed down.

Arlene Moreside explains why the provincial UNA strike in 1988 proved a pivotal event in achieving gains in the area of occupational health and safety. 

Clara Montgomery, who grew up on a farm in the Drumheller area, describes the coal-related work of members of farm families.

Lucien Royer became a leader in trade union action on the environment and health& safety at the national and international levels, including the organization of national and international Days of Mourning for workers injured or killed on the job.

Steve Senio raised in the Ukrainian settlement near Calmar, was the postwar organizer and then business manager of Local 720 of the Ironworkers Union.

Lena Shellian, born and raised in Canmore, was the daughter, grand-daughter and wife of coal mine workers, and watched her dad and her husband die of silicosis.

Anna Sokolawski was, at the time of her interview, a new graduate nurse, who was discovering the impact of nursing shortages on both her own, and patient, safety.

Jennifer Ward is a long-time registered nurse on the psychiatric unit of the Grande Prairie Hospital where she, as a local UNA executive member, has fought for nurses’ rights to refuse unsafe work.

Women in the Skilled Trades

A number of the women ALHI interviewed about their work in the skilled trades had stories about health and safety on the worksite.

Aisha Amin became a journeyperson welder after coming to Alberta from Ethiopia in 1988. She emphasizes the importance of proper personal protective equipment to the health and safety of workers in the construction trades.

Delanee Daviau is a journeyperson welder who worked in the Ironworkers Union Local 720 to promote drug and alcohol testing as part of a health and safety, while taking on the challenges facing women in the skilled trades.

Siobhan Mangal is an apprentice in both the Plasterers’ Local 222 and the Insulators Local 110. She describes the support she received from other women, her response to discrimination, and the importance of health and safety training on the job.

Alberta Workers’ Health Centre Project

ALHI is working with The Workers’ Health Centre to collect oral histories with a focus on Occupational Health and Safety, particularly with Alberta’s most vulnerable workers. These interviews are an initial sample with more to come.

Tarik Accord Somalia-born worked in several cleaning firms. Injured on the job at one of them, she helped form a union at Bee Clean and served as a union steward, emphasizing education of members regarding their legal rights with regards to occupational health and safety.

Sam Nuako is a Ghanian-born labour relations officer for UFCW who focuses strongly on diversity issues and on encouraging members to always speak up about their concerns.

Documentary on Trade Union Action for Health & Safety

The Hinton Asbestos Wildcat Workers trying to clean up asbestos in Hinton’s pulp mill for over a decade, finally shut the plant down on July 1st, 1997, arguing that they faced an “imminent danger”. Union members talk about this action and how the removal of the carcinogen benefited not only the workers, but the whole community of Hinton.

Maria Dunn has written a new song about the COVID related deaths in Alberta’s Meatpacking plants. Listen to it here.

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