Workers, union representatives, and labor organizers from a range of industries gathered with U.S. Department of Labor officials at a first-of-its-kind summit held by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The Workers’ Voice Summit focused on health and safety problems affecting workers and the need to foster open dialogue to identify workplace problems and find solutions. Participants also discussed the benefits of advancing equity and making the department more accessible to underserved workers and their advocates.
Amber La Macchia, a senior quality assurance functional tester at Activision Blizzard; Troy Putman, a communications tower installation crew foreman at A&M Communications and a member of the Tower Climbers Union/CWA; and Micki Siegel de Hernández, CWA’s Deputy Director for Occupational Safety and Health, participated in the three-day summit. “I’m here to talk about ‘crunch’ in the game industry,” La Macchia told a reporter. “Game development is a very complicated process with a lot of people working together. Companies exploit the convenience of the passions found in most of the artists that work on video games through crunch, which tends to look like extreme overtime. It results in burnout. It sucks all the passion out of them. They never want to come back.” Activision Blizzard workers in Wisconsin and New York recently joined CODE-CWA.
Putman added, “Tower workers also face issues stemming from long hours, but that time is often spent hundreds of feet above the ground. Obviously our industry is a very dangerous, complicated industry. I’m here to be a pioneer in this industry. I’m passionate about it. Safety is a huge aspect we hope to fix.” “We need the agencies to hear from the workers who are actually doing the work and that’s a main reason we are here,” said Siegel de Hernandez. “You can be sure that CWA members and health and safety activists will continue to push for stronger worker protections and actions on the part of the agencies.”
During the summit, the workers had an opportunity to speak to various officials and present a formal statement in the listening sessions about the specific safety and health concerns impacting workers in their respective industries and urged officials to consider their concerns in policy making decisions.
On the left: Amber La Macchia, an Activision Blizzard worker speaking at a listening session during the Department of Labor’s Workers Voice Summit. On the right: Troy Putman, a communications tower installation crew foreman and a member of the Tower Climbers Union/CWA, standing with Doug Parker, Assistant Secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at the Workers Voice Summit.