WorkSHIFTS

WorkSHIFTS, our collaborative labor outreach program, works in partnership with labor unions to heighten awareness among workers, labor leaders and management on issues of tobacco and health.  We provide education, training, resources, and technical assistance on public health policies for blue-collar and service sector workers.  Since 2002, WorkSHIFTS has partnered with union and public health leaders to advance policies that reduce workers’ exposure to secondhand smoke and increase their access to comprehensive tobacco cessation benefits.

Our latest research is aimed at increasing access to tobacco cessation services among blue-collar union members and their families as a standard component of health care plans.  Our goal is to encourage Minnesota-based Taft-Hartley Health and Welfare Funds to provide comprehensive tobacco cessation services in existing health care plans and to promote the services to plan participants.  Nationwide, Taft-Hartley Health and Welfare Funds provide health benefits to approximately 10 million union members.

Tobacco Cessation News

WorkSHIFTS provides timely summary and analysis of tobacco cessation-related news. View all tobacco cessation news articles.

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Featured Publications

  An Evaluation of Health Benefit Modification in Taft-Hartley Health and Welfare Funds (2010)
An estimated one fifth of all U.S. adult smokers receive health benefits through insurance plans administered by Taft–Hartley Health and Welfare Funds. Most funds do not offer comprehensive tobacco-cessation services to fund participants despite evidence that doing so would be cost effective and save lives. This paper examines the decision-making processes of Minnesota-based fund trustees and advisors to identify factors that influence decisions about modifications to benefits.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine

Caroline M. Au-Yeung, Susan R. Weisman et al.

  Employee Consent or Waiver Provisions for Smoke-free Workplace Regulations (2010)
Overview of a few typical employee consent/waiver provisions in smoke-free laws, legal and policy difficulties that can result from such provisions, and mitigating language to protect employee rights if these provisions are enacted.
  A Union Guide to Tobacco: Tobacco and Labor Unions
A WorkSHIFTS resource, developed in collaboration with union leaders, that provides critical information about health harms and costs associated with tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke among blue-collar workers, as well as legal guidance and policy tools for developing and implementing workplace policies.
  Tobacco Cessation Toolkit for Taft-Hartley Funds (2011)

This WorkSHIFTS toolkit includes 21 fact sheets that provide user-friendly information about best practices for providing and promoting cessation benefits for blue-collar workers in Taft-Hartley Health and Welfare Funds.

  An Employer Guide to Tobacco
A WorkSHIFTS resource that provides management personnel with information about health harms and costs associated with tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke among blue-collar workers, as well as legal guidance and policy tools for developing and implementing workplace policies.
  An overview of tobacco cessation medications
An overview of the seven currently available FDA-approved tobacco cessation medications that increase long-term tobacco use quit rates.
  Nicotine dependence, relapse, and quitting smoking
Quick facts on nicotine dependence, relapse, and quitting smoking. Fact sheet also includes information on factors that make quitting more challenging, and keys to successfully quitting.
  An overview of tobacco cessation counseling
An overview of tobacco cessation counseling, a key strategy for providing support to individuals during their attempts to quit smoking.
  WorkSHIFTS Fact Sheets

Fact sheets by WorkSHIFTS addressing tobacco issues for blue-collar workers

  Taft-Hartley Health & Welfare Funds: Evaluating the Need for Cessation Benefits
From 2006 to 2008, WorkSHIFTS conducted a study of the process by which Minnesota Taft-Hartley Health and Welfare Fund trustees make decisions about possible modifications to existing health plan benefits, in particular, modifications regarding the provision and promotion of tobacco cessation services. The study also examined health care plan participants’ perceptions about having their unions, Taft-Hartley Funds, and employers provide and promote tobacco cessation resources. The results of this study have been applied to the design of an intervention that will encourage Taft-Hartley Funds to provide and promote tobacco cessation services in existing health care plans.

2008

  The Role of Labor Organizations in Tobacco Control: What Do Unionized Workers Think?
A journal article summarizing the results of a phone survey of unionized workers regarding their knowledge and attitudes about tobacco use, harm associated with workplace exposure to secondhand smoke and the role of labor unions in addressing worksite smoking and cessation coverage policies.

Rebecca J. Mitchell, Susan R. Weisman, Resa M. Jones, Darin Erickson
American Journal of Health Promotion
Jan/Feb 2009

  The Tobacco Industry: The Fight against Secondhand Smoke
A fact sheet describing some of the methods the tobacco industry uses to weaken the case for indoor air policies.
  Secondhand Smoke: The Health Consequences
An overview of secondhand smoke and its health consequences.
  Costs and Benefits of Smoking and Smoke-Free Policies in the Workplace

Information regarding the costs of smoking at work, how smoke-free policies are associated with smoking cessation, and the economic benefits of a smoke-free workplace.

  Blue-Collar Workers and Tobacco
Information on how blue-collar workers are disproportionately affected by tobacco use, and how smoking multiplies the risk of lung cancer from asbestos exposure.
  Secondhand Smoke in Bars & Restaurants
Information on how bar and restaurant workers are exposed to secondhand smoke, and the economic impact of smoke-free ordinances for bars and restaurants.