Profile: Tarik Accord was born and raised in war-torn Somalia. She immigrated to Canada in 2004 and soon began a series of jobs as a cleaner with various Edmonton firms. In all of them, she experienced overwork, low pay, and authoritarian management. She felt vulnerable when she had to clean empty buildings alone at night. The workers received little or no safety training and Tarik was injured on one of her jobs. She helped form a union at Bee Clean and, in her view, the company’s several threats to fire her resulted from her firm union activism. She served as a union steward and encouraged her fellow workers, mostly immigrant women, to come to her with grievances though they feared being dismissed for complaining. She educated workers regarding their legal right to reject unsafe work.
Keywords: Bee Clean; Cleaners; Immigrant workers; Occupational health and safety; Somalia; Union steward; Unionization
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