TORONTO, ON — The United Steelworkers has been announced as a key participant in a six-year study of the challenges posed by climate change to Canadian workplaces and possible solutions to these issues.
The research project is led by Carla Lipsig-Mummé, professor of work and labour studies in York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, and research fellow in York’s Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability.
The study has received a $1-million grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to support the study and search for solutions. It is one of 20 large-scale research projects funded through SSHRC’s Community-University Research Alliances (CURA) program.
The study brings together academics, community organizations, the United Steelworkers and other trade unions. It will examine policy, training, employment and workplace actions to assist Canada’s transition to a low-emission economy.
"Our union is proud to take a leadership role in addressing the serious workplace and environmental issues of the future," said Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers National Director for Canada. "The future of our members, their jobs and their communities depends on finding the right answers to these challenges."
The USW is among 23 researchers, 20 partners and 10 universities in three countries that will participate in the study. Other participants include Environmental Defence and the Canadian Steel Trade and Employment Congress.
By combining research, workplace education, policy recommendations and pilot projects in transnational work adaptation, this project will allow Canada to re-enter the international debate about how best to engage the work world in the struggle to slow global warming.
"We need to know more about the chain of processes that comprise work, employment and training in key Canadian industries and professions — and how their decision-makers understand and respond to the challenge that global warming poses to these processes," said Lipsig-Mummé.
"Our second goal is to engage community partners active in the work world and the environmental community in research that identifies critical spaces for adaptation, drawing on their hands-on experience and linking it to the expertise of the academics."