Director of Health, Safety and Environment, United Steelworkers
Mike Wright is the Director of Health, Safety and Environment for the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union.
The USW represents 850,000 members in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. The union’s membership is even more diverse than its name. It is the largest North American union the manufacturing and extractive industries, and has a significant membership in health care, other services and even local government. Its reach extends from the Alaskan North Slope to the island of Aruba, from Labrador to Hawaii. The 28 members of the USW’s Health, Safety and Environment Department and its associated Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education assist local unions and employers in creating safer and greener workplaces, investigate serious accidents, advocate for stronger laws and regulations, and administer an education program that trains more than 10,000 members, managers and community residents a year.
Mike was trained as an industrial engineer at Cornell, and an industrial hygienist at the Harvard School of Public Health. He joined the USW in 1977, and became department head in 1984. He has also served as the head of the union’s education department, where he directed the training for participants in the joint union-management partnership programs in the steel industry.
Mike is a former member of the Department of Labor’s National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health and EPA’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, and a current member of NIOSH’s Mine Health Research Advisory Committee.
Mike has worked extensively on international health, safety and environment issues with the International Labour Organization and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. He has taught safety and health in Zimbabwe, India, Brazil, Poland, and Russia. He was a member of an international team that investigated the Bhopal disaster. He is a former member of the Program Advisory Committee of the International Program on Chemical Safety, set up under the ILO, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Environment Program. He also served on the international coordinating group overseeing the effort to harmonize chemical classification and labeling systems throughout the world, whose work was completed in 2003. He currently serves on the world’s first global labor-management health and safety committee, established in 2009 by ArcelorMittal and its unions.