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Stop-work authority: United Steelworkers publishes guide for workers

Photo: United Steelworkers

Pittsburgh — A new guide on stop-work authority from the United Steelworkers is aimed at helping workers develop and bargain for programs that allow them to halt unsafe or unhealthy operations and processes until hazards are abated.

Developed by USW’s health, safety and environment department, Bargaining for Stop Work Authority to Prevent Injuries and Save Lives features four checklists for developing a stop-work authority process. It also details the importance of well-designed SWA programs and the pitfalls of ineffective programs that exist at many worksites.

Additionally, the free guide contains a “model negotiated SWA process and contract language won by a USW local union.”


The first part of the guide details how the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and other laws don’t include SWA, how common SWA programs are in workplaces, and how a voluntary consensus standard supports SWA.

“The unfortunate reality is that flawed stop-work programs exist at many worksites, and this booklet will help to change that,” USW International President Tom Conway said in a press release. “In addition, workers often face challenges, including retaliation, in their efforts to stop unhealthy or unsafe work.”

Added Debra Coyle, executive director of the New Jersey Work Environment Council: “By applying the guide’s lessons and winning stop-work authority, unions can better protect both their members and communities from chemical fires, explosions, toxic releases and other dangers.”

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