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Tales from the Field: WorkSHIFT’s Labor Outreach Presented by: Susan Weisman Erik Peterson Boston, December 2003 WorkSHIFTS Collaborative Labor Outreach Initiative: Tobacco Law Center A legal and policy resource center housed at William Mitchell College of Law

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Tales from the Field:

WorkSHIFT’s Labor Outreach

Presented by:

Susan Weisman

Erik Peterson

Boston, December 2003


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WorkSHIFTS

  • Collaborative Labor Outreach Initiative:

    • Tobacco Law Center

      • A legal and policy resource center housed at William Mitchell College of Law

    • University of Minnesota Labor Education Service

      • Outreach component of University to Minnesota’s labor community

  • Partnering with Labor

    • Addressing tobacco’s harmful impact in workplace settings by:

      • Conducting educational outreach and training

      • Developing legal and policy tools and resources

      • Providing technical assistance to facilitate collective bargaining, policy development and implementation

  • Funded by MPAAT

    • Two-year grant from Minnesota Partnership for Action Against Tobacco


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WorkSHIFTS

Long-term goals

  • Reduce exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace for all workers, regardless of occupation or class.

  • Enhance access to effective, affordable cessation services and programs for workers who want to quit smoking.

  • Provide ongoing technical assistance to labor, management and individual workers that supports the development and implementation of sound smoking policies in the workplace.

  • Based in Minnesota – yet available to assist nationwide.


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WorkSHIFTS

Why this issue? Why now?

  • Tobacco is the leading cause of death for workers.

  • Secondhand smoke (SHS) is one of the least visible workplace hazards.

  • SHS is the only Group A carcinogen (known to cause cancer in humans) not regulated by OSHA or the EPA.

  • Unions have not played an active role in tobacco prevention and control historically:

    • Perception of the issue as divisive

    • Relationships between unions and tobacco industry


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WorkSHIFTS

Our approach

  • Collaborative

    • Meeting labor where it is now

    • Building relationships, partnerships, trust

    • Recognition that each union and local has specific needs and limits

  • Targeted

    • Striving to reach those workers most impacted by tobacco: blue collar and hospitality and service workers

  • Listening to labor’s many voices

    • Informal survey

    • Key informant interviews

    • Focus groups

    • Statewide telephone survey

    • Retreats with labor and tobacco control leaders


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Initial Findings

Key findings from initial survey

  • August 2002 Minnesota AFL-CIO survey of convention delegates –

  • 182 respondents (26%); 37 international unions

  • Strong support for unions bargaining for cessation benefits

  • Strong agreement that SHS is a hazard

  • Strong support for limiting smoking to specific smoking area


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Initial Findings

Labor leader interviews

Fifteen labor leaders representing 7 international unions and 5 central labor councils were interviewed on smoking and cessation issues.

  • Secondhand smoke is a worker health and safety issue –but not a high priority compared to other workplace safety issues

  • Key areas of agreement:

    • Unions may have a role in addressing SHS workplace exposure

    • Members typically accept smoking policies once in place

    • Need more information, particularly on:

      • how tobacco use affects workers health and health care costs

      • available, effective cessation programs, their components and cost


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Focus Groups

Focus group goal

Six focus groups in three cities – union workers from targeted populations including smokers and nonsmokers.

  • Probe for a more nuanced understanding of worker perceptions, attitudes and awareness of tobacco issues

  • Gauge reactions to sets of facts and messages


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Focus Group Findings

Ambivalence & uncertainty about union role

  • Saw union’s role to fight for wages and benefits

    • the union protects jobs and standards of living

    • on your side – strength in numbers – solidarity – know what we’re up against

  • Few saw a union role on smoking issues

    • some even wondered if union should take any position: “This is personal business – not union business.”

    • some thought there were “bigger fish to fry”

    • exceptions:

      • saw the union negotiating options if smoking ban imposed

      • some saw a role for negotiating cessation benefits


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Focus Group Findings

Smokers as embattled minority

  • On one hand – many smokers want to quit

    • talked freely of health risks, their state of health, family member concerns, and attempts to quit

    • spoke of being at mercy of addiction, desired help, and expressed shame about not being “stronger” and able to quit

  • And yet – many smokers perceive they are being targeted

    • feel persecuted as smokers

      • acceptable to “attack” smokers

      • fewer places to smoke

      • taken advantage of by both government and tobacco industry

    • resent being judged or condescended to


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Focus Group Findings

SHS: Nuisance or hazard?

  • Nonsmokers had mixed reactions

    • many believed it was a hazard, yet spoke of SHS mostly as a nuisance (smell, etc.); openness to belief that it is a hazard

    • most nonsmokers empathized with their smoking coworkers

    • for some, clearly a hazard to be avoided

  • Smokers resisted calling SHS a hazard

  • Smokers and nonsmokers both concerned about SHS’s impact on the most vulnerable

    • impact of SHS on children and elderly

    • impact of SHS on those with serious medical conditions


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Focus Group Findings

Hints about appropriate messages

  • Smokers

    • Reacted negatively and argued against many “facts” about the health effects of smoking and SHS

    • Reacted more positively to “non-judgmental” messages

    • Reacted positively to messages that were seen as “helpful” – e.g., options for quitting; associated risks with other workplace hazards.

  • Nonsmokers

    • Generally open to messages and appreciated new “facts”

    • Desired balanced approach that respects nonsmokers


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Statewide Union Survey

Survey goals

Survey by Lake, Snell, Perry – a nationally recognized polling firm – and balanced for geography and union: 4.4% margin of error.

  • Learn basic attitudes of union members about SHS and smoking

  • Learn attitudes of union members about desired role of their unions on SHS, smoking cessation, and workplace smoking policies

  • Test effectiveness of specific messages for union members



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Statewide Union Survey

Nonsmoking and smoking members

30% Smokers70% Non-Smokers

Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates – June 2003


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Statewide Union Survey

Union groups most likely to smoke

All Minnesota smokers: 22% (M=25%; F=20%)

All union member smokers: 30%

Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates – June 2003


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Statewide Union Survey

Union groups least likely to smoke

All Minnesotans: 22% smoke (M=25%; F=20%)

All union members: 30% smoke

Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates – June 2003


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Statewide Union Survey

SHS as Health Risk


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Statewide Union Survey

SHS poses health risk to nonsmokers

73% Agree24% Disagree

Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates – June 2003


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Statewide Union Survey

SHS harming own health

53% Concerned45% Not very concerned

Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates – June 2003


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Statewide Union Survey

SHS as a health hazard or annoyance

Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates – June 2003


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Statewide Union Survey

SHS as significant work health issue

40% Very Important59% Not Very Important

Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates – June 2003


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Statewide Union Survey

Key SHS summary points

  • Members see SHS more as a health hazard (than merely an annoyance) and a risk to nonsmokers (more than to their own health)

  • Members do not generally see SHS as a significant workplace health issue

    • this may be due to lack of knowledge

    • this may also be due to lack of exposure at most worksites


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Statewide Union Survey

Workplace Policies


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Statewide Union Survey

Current workplace smoking policies

Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates – June 2003


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Statewide Union Survey

Desired workplace smoking policies

Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates – June 2003


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Statewide Union Survey

Key workplace policy summary points

  • About 20% of union members are potentially exposed to SHS at the workplace

  • Most union members generally like the smoking policies they have – there is little groundswell for change

    • Though few members want their unions to push harder on these issues (only about 30%) there is also even less “hard core” opposition to the union working on these issues (only about 10% – mostly smokers)


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Statewide Union Survey

Smoking and Health Care Costs


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77% Agree15% Disagree

Statewide Union Survey

Smoking increasing health care costs

Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates – June 2003


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72% Agree19% Disagree

Statewide Union Survey

Reducing smoking will reduce health care costs

Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates – June 2003


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Statewide Union Survey

Key health care costs summary points

  • Over 75% of union members believe that smoking increases their health care costs

  • Surprisingly, only slightly fewer also believe that reducing smoking will reduce their health care costs

  • Both smokers and nonsmokers agree, although smokers are somewhat more skeptical


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Statewide Union Survey

Role of Union


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38% Support35% Oppose

Statewide Union Survey

Members mixed on support of union negotiating a smoking ban

Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates – June 2003


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50% Support

16% Oppose

Statewide Union Survey

Members support union negotiating reasonable smoking restrictions

Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates – June 2003


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Statewide Union Survey

Who should take lead on smoking policies

Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates – June 2003


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57% Very Important43% Not Very Important

Statewide Union Survey

Importance of union negotiating cessation benefits

Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates – June 2003


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Statewide Union Survey

Key union role summary points

  • By far, union members believe that management should take the lead in setting smoking policies – only 6% think the union should

  • Members are very mixed about whether the union should negotiate a smoking ban

  • There is greater support (among both smokers and nonsmokers) for the union negotiating reasonable smoking restrictions

  • There is significant support for unions to negotiate cessation benefits


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Statewide Union Survey

Message Directions


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Statewide Union Survey

Message directions for nonsmokers

  • Nonsmoking union members are broadly receptive to a variety of facts on SHS and smoking

  • Best messages for nonsmokers include focusing on:

    • costs of smoking on health care costs

    • working together as coworkers (both smokers and nonsmokers) to limit harmful effects

    • standing up to big tobacco companies who are targeting union members

Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates – June 2003


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Statewide Union Survey

Message directions for smokers

  • Smoking union members are generally much more skeptical to facts on SHS and smoking

  • Smokers are somewhat responsive to facts on:

    • cancer causing chemicals in tobacco smoke

    • SHS aggravating health conditions in their coworkers.

  • Best messages for smokers include focusing on:

    • hazards of second-hand smoke

    • working together as coworkers (both smokers and nonsmokers) to limit harmful effects

    • productivity costs resulting from smoking

Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates – June 2003


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Labor Retreats

Key retreat outcomes

Two retreats held with labor activists and tobacco control advocates for more extensive feedback and discussion of key findings/next steps

  • Created core group of “champions” and ongoing advisory group

  • Identified resource needs/outreach activities

  • Four key priorities:

    • Focus on cessation benefits/strategies/costs

    • Develop collective bargaining strategies/options

    • Explore/develop policy approaches to smoke-free workplaces

    • Educational awareness for labor leaders and members

      • hazards

      • existing cessation benefits

      • health impact on workers and their families


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What We’ve Learned: The Big Picture

  • Attitudes

    • Current attitudes reflect existing policies and levels of knowledge

    • Attitudes shift in response to policy changes, leading to acceptance

  • Labor leaders are interested

    • They care about the toll tobacco is taking on their members

    • They want to know more about how tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke contribute to members’ escalating health care costs

    • They want more information about how to help members quit

  • Rank & file – open to addressing issue

    • Smokers want help to quit – easier access, more affordable, best options

    • Smokers and non-smokers want balanced approach – working together to achieve effective smoking


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Next Steps

Create educational materials

  • Develop six key types of materials:

    • Union Activist/Leader Toolkit

      • hazards

      • existing cessation benefits

      • health impact on workers and their families

    • Workplace fliers on tobacco as workplace hazard; cessation options

    • Labor Management Toolkit

    • Labor Management Presentation (outreach)

    • Modules for Apprenticeship Programs (like BUILT materials)

    • Visually grabbing poster-art linking historic labor struggles on health and safety issues with current focus on tobacco


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Next Steps

Continued outreach

  • Labor Management Committees

  • Apprenticeship Programs

  • Union Conventions and Events

  • Ongoing Role of Advisory Committee

  • WorkSHIFTS as National Resource Center


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For more information:

  • Susan Weisman

    • Director, WorkSHIFTS

    • Tobacco Law Center

    • William Mitchell College of Law

    • 875 Summit Avenue

    • St. Paul, Minnesota 55105

    • 651-270-7516

    • [email protected]

Visit our website:

www.workshifts.org

  • Erik Peterson

    • Lead Consultant, WorkSHIFTS

    • Labor Education Services

    • University of Minnesota

    • Duluth, Minnesota 55812

    • 218-726-8683

    • [email protected]


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