Global Labour Speaker Series explores research on workplace health and safety

The next event in the Global Labour Speakers Series (GLSS) will explore how science benefits from worker input in the context of health and safety in the workplace.

Global Labour MessingThe event “Pain, Prejudice and Working Postures: How A University-Union Agreement Allowed Researchers To Understand Musculoskeletal Problems Among Low-Paid Workers” will run on Feb. 10 from 2 to 3:30pm in the Sociology Common Room, Vari Hall 2101.

Karen Messing, professor emerita of ergonomics in the Department of Biological Sciences and the CINBIOSE research center at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) will present the talk. During the event, she will explore how 40 years ago UQAM signed agreements with Québec’s major trade unions providing for education and research support.

UQAM professors’ labour contract provides for released time and seed funding for such projects, financed primarily by UQAM. Although the agreements have been and are threatened by pressure from the right, they have continued to provide fertile ground for a large number of occupational health and safety research and training projects.

She has been involved in a number of related projects, most at the request of the union women’s committees and health and safety committees.

Most of Messing’s research arises from agreements between her university and community groups, and it deals with applications of gender-sensitive analysis in occupational health, constraints and demands of work in the health care and service sectors, especially prolonged static standing, and how workplace conditions affect work-family interactions

In 2014, she published Pain and Prejudice: What Science Can Learn about Work from the People Who Do, describing the consequences, for workers, of social class bias among health scientists.

She has received the Governor General of Canada’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case (2009), the 2014 William P. Yant Award from the American Industrial Hygiene Association, in addition to various other academic awards.

Refreshments will be served. All are welcome. For more, visit

The Global Labour Speakers Series at York University is a collaboration of the Global Labour Research Centre, the Work & Labour Studies Program, the Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy, and the Canada Research Chair in the Political Economy of Gender & Work.

The event is co-sponsored by York University’s Departments of Social Science, Sociology, Geography, Equity Studies, and Political Science, the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, the Office of the Dean – LA&PS, Osgoode Hall Law School, and the Office of the Provost.