Monday, December 10, 2012

Justifying the exclusion of farm workers from OHS

The autumn edition of Socialist Studies is out and with it is my paper "No right to be safety: Justifying the exclusion of Alberta farm workers from health and safety legislations." This paper analyzes a decade of statements by government MLAs to justify the continued exclusion of farm workers from basic OHS rights that you and I take for granted--such as the right to be safe or the right to know about hazards in their workplace.

Three justificatory narratives emerge from the discussion: (1) education is better than regulation, (2) farms cannot be regulated, and (3) farmers don’t want and can’t afford regulation. Analysis of these narratives reveals them to be largely invalid, raising the question of why government members rely upon these narratives. The electoral rewards associated with maintaining this exclusion may comprise part of the explanation.

-- Bob Barnetson

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