Health and Safety Advocates
Edeline Agoncillo is a Filipino immigrant who worked for K-Bro for two years as a temporary foreign worker, before completing a college program that she was misinformed would lead to her receiving a Canadian work permit.
Elisabeth Ballermann served as president of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta from 1995 to 2016, and as a prominent activist in Friends of Medicare.
Anne Baranyk-Broad was president of Local 120, United Garment Workers, at GWG from 1956 to 1970.
Reg Basken was president of the Alberta Federation of Labour from 1972 to 1978 and president of the Energy and Chemical Workers Union from 1984 to 1992.
Gerry Beauchamp, former president of the Gainers UFCW local, was one of two people charged with tracking where company products were taken during the Gainers Strike in 1986 so that picketers could pressure companies to join the union’s boycott.
Vicky Beauchamp was a meat packager at Gainers, a union activist, and a strike leader during the Gainers Strike of 1986.
Lou Broten was a long-time president of the Edmonton local of the International Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen.
Kathleen Cariaga-Estapa has been active in AUPE’s local at Chartwell in Edmonton where she first began work as a housekeeper who was a temporary foreign worker.
Evangeline Cayanan is an undocumented worker whose harrowing tales are an indictment of the Temporary Foreign Worker program and treatment of undocumented workers in Canada.
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.
Danilo De Leon is a Filipino immigrant who has been both a temporary foreign worker and an undocumented worker in Alberta.
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.
Jack Hubler served as business agent for the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, Local Union 488 for 20 years.
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.
Lyla Luciano & Olivia Wilson are friends and both work part-time while attending university classes. They struggle to balance precarious employment, workplace safety issues, and rising tuition costs with immersion in community and family.
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.
Cecile Sangster-Locker is an RN and midwife who played important roles in all the nursing strikes in Alberta to date.
Rashpal Sehmby, a long-time CUPW activist, also served for several years as an interim organizer for Service Employees International Union, focusing on elderly Punjabi-origin janitors at Bee Clean in Edmonton.
Steve Senio raised in the Ukrainian settlement near Calmar, was the postwar organizer and then business manager of Local 720 of the Ironworkers Union.
Michelle Senkow is a long-time Maternal Child Care nurse throughout Alberta who became active in UNA and serves as a mentor to other nurses.
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.
Mary Strong is the pseudonym for an Indigenous woman, a Sixties scoop survivor, who has become a leader in her AUPE local of homecare workers.
Karen Three Persons is a veteran Indigenous nurse and UNA local president, who has managed training programmes for Elders’ care and home care.
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.
Amanda Whillans is a healthcare aide in a Cold Lake assisted living home where a bitter strike occurred in 2017.
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.
Robyn Schaapman is a journeyperson electrician dedicated to involving more women in skilled trades.
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.