Working With Unions
Union representatives are often caught in the middle of disputes between their nonsmoking and smoking members over smoking in the workplace. Smokefree workplace policies can resolve this dilemma for them.104
A 1991 poll by the Central Labor Council of Contra Costa County, California found that 70% of their affiliates and delegates supported smokefree workplaces.105
A recent survey of 166 national and 542 local union leaders found that only 3% of national and 8% of local unions actively oppose bans or restrictions on workplace smoking.106
Local arbiters generally uphold reasonable rules—rules that use appropriate means to accomplish a legitimate objective.107
Unions that fail to protect members from involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke on the job may face potential legal action.108
104 National Cancer Institute and the Smoking Policy Institute. Smoking policies and the unions. In Smoking Policy: Questions and Answers. Seattle, WA: Smoking Policy Institute, 1989.
105 Smoking Education Coalition. Unions: Changing Times, Changing Policies, SEC Monograph No. 1. Pleasant Hill, CA: SEC, 1992.
106 Sorensen, G. Organized labor and work-site smoking policies: Results on a survey of labor leaders. New Solutions 6:57-60, 1996.
107 Unions Working Together Towards a Tobacco-Free 2000: Implications and Innovations. San Diego, CA: Labor’s Community Service Agency, May 1993.