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Worker safety and inequality  

April 27, 2023 | News Articles
Toronto Star Work and Wealth investigative reporter Sara Mojtehedzadeh addressing 2023 USW National Policy Convention

Known as “the health and safety union,” the United Steelworkers welcomed Toronto Star Work and Wealth investigative reporter Sara Mojtehedzadeh to the National Policy Conference.

Mojtehedzadeh showed why she has become known for ground-breaking reporting on the dangerous realities of precarious work, unsafe workplace conditions, and worker safety, as she told delegates about going under cover at Fiera Foods after five temporary help workers were killed the industrial bakery and its affiliates.

In 2021, following further reporting and weak fines being charged to the employer, then District 6 Director Marty Warren wrote to the Minister of Labour as well as the Attorney General of Ontario, directing them to the USW’s Stop the Killing campaign and calling on them to ensure that police and prosecutors in Ontario utilize the Westray amendments to investigate workplace fatalities through the lens of criminal accountability.

“The USW has been on the forefront – particularly on worker compensation and workplace safety,” Mojtehedzadeh said, as she proudly noted she lives not far from the USW Hall in Hamilton, Ontario.

Talking about her investigation into General Electric’s Peterborough plant,  Mojtehedzadeh said that workers there had been exposed to toxic chemicals for decades.

Mojtehedzadeh also noted that precarious workers – often newcomers – are most at risk of mistreatment and danger.

During COVID,  Mojtehedzadeh found that many non-essential workers in Ontario had been declared “essential,” forced to work in unsafe conditions during the pandemic and died after contracting Covid at work.

“Many of these workers didn’t even get paid by their employer while they tried to recover,” she said.

While introducing Mojtehedzadeh, Assistant to the District 6 Director Kevon Stewart noted, “Sara is breaking news on a regular basis, exposing bad bosses, and getting justice for workers.” Like the union and its members, she won’t stop any time soon.  

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