For immediate release
July 13, 2018
UNITE HERE International and 7 California Locals Win Tony Mazzocchi Award for Grassroots Activism from American Public Health Association
SAN DIEGO, CA ― The Occupational Health and Safety Section (OHS) of the American Public Health Association (APHA) announced today the recipients of its annual awards for outstanding achievements. The OHS Section will celebrate the accomplishments of these individuals at the APHA’s 146th Annual Meeting & Expo from Nov. 10-14, 2018 at the San Diego Convention Center.
The OHS Section is honoring two individuals with its Alice Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. This award is named for Alice Hamilton (1869-1970), a tireless activist who dedicated her life to improving the health and safety of workers. Robert Harrison, MD, MPH is clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and a senior medical officer with the California Department of Public Health; and Walter Jones, MS, CIH is director of OHS with the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America.
“Bob Harrison and Walter Jones have made their mark in public health through different paths but with the same vision for a more just world,” said Homero Harari, ScD, MPH, chair of the OHS Section. “Each has a deep commitment to workers’ rights, recognizing the potent influence of people’s work on their health.”
Robert Harrison, MD, MPH is a skilled physician, a dedicated mentor, a committed advocate, and a stellar researcher. In 1984, he founded UCSF’s Occupational Health Services and has served as the director of the Occupational Health Internship Program since its inception in 2004.
Walter Jones, MS, CIH works closely with the Laborers’ field staff to meet the health and safety needs of union’s 500,000 members and affiliated contractors. Jones always has his ear to the ground to listen to front-line workers while engaging thoughtfully with contractors to ensure the jobs are safe.
The OHS Section is also honoring Nancy Zuniga, MPH with the Lorin Kerr Award, which recognizes young professionals for their sustained and outstanding efforts and dedication to improve the lives of workers. Zuniga manages the Workers Health Program at the Institute of Popular Education of Southern California (IDEPSCA). She collaborates in training settings with day laborers, household workers and others to advance their local worker movements. This award is named for Lorin Kerr (1909-1991), a life-long activist who served for more than 40 years as the physician for the United Mine Workers.
The OHS Section will also present its Tony Mazzocchi Award for Grassroots Activism to seven UNITE HERE local unions and the International Union in recognition of their health and safety victory for hotel housekeepers. Members of UNITE HERE Local 49 (Sacramento); Local 2 (San Francisco); Local 2850 (Oakland); Local 483 (Monterey); Local 19 (San Jose); Local 30 (San Diego); and Local 11 (Los Angeles, Orange County and Arizona) carried out a six- year campaign to demand protections to address musculoskeletal hazards. Their skill and commitment resulted in a new Cal/OSHA regulation designed specifically for hotel housekeepers that was adopted in March 2018. This award is named for Tony Mazzocchi (1926-2002), a highly-influential labor leader who played a key role in the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
Lastly, the OHS Section is honoring Omana George, MA with the Leslie Nickels International Health & Safety Award. Ms. George is the coordinator of the Occupational and Environmental Health Asia Monitor Resource Center. She has also been an instrumental contributor to the Asian Network for the Rights of Occupational and Environmental Victims (ANROEV), a network of grassroots organizations in more than 20 countries and territories in Asia. The award is named for Leslie Nickels (1953-2017), who used her training as an educator and industrial hygienist to advance social justice for disenfranchised workers. It recognizes individuals and organizations with outstanding achievement in the field of OHS outside the United States.
The OHS Section congratulates all five recipients of its 2018 awards for outstanding achievement. “In a world with so much discord, it is more important than ever to come together to honor and celebrate our occupational health and safety heroes and their unparalleled contribution to global public health,” said Amber Hogan Mitchell, DrPH, MPH, CPH, chair-elect of the OHS Section.
The award recipients will be formally recognized at the OHS Section’s awards luncheon on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at the San Diego Convention Center. The event is open to the public, but attendees who want to eat lunch at the event must purchase a ticket in advance.
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APHA champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that influences federal policy, has a nearly 150-year perspective and brings together members from all fields of public health. Learn more at www.apha.org. APHA’s OHS Section, established in 1914, is comprised of individuals who are dedicated to protecting and advancing workers’ rights to healthy and safe workplaces.