Steelworkers at Koolatron Protecting Canadian Workers

BRANTFORD, Ont. – United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1-500 members who manufacture refrigeration products will be adding production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and medical transportation coolers to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Workers at Koolatron Corporation’s Brantford plant are already producing face shields.  Further production of masks, including N95 masks, is expected to begin as soon as the company gets federal approval.

“The term ‘Made in Canada by USW Local 1-500’ has more significance than ever before,” said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren. “Our members were involved in supporting the company’s move to add production that will help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This is about more than jobs. This is about doing the right thing.”

Warren added that employers must take every reasonable precaution necessary to protect workers.

“It is the responsibility of employers to ensure employees are protected. In this crisis, there is absolutely no room for cutting corners or deciding who gets protection and who doesn’t.”

The face shields, made at a rate of 100 per hour, are already being manufactured and sold in southern Ontario, and union members are ready to begin work on other products.

“Innovation at a time of great need is a response that more employers should take,” Warren said. 

Earlier this month, USW members in the Niagara Region purchased 3D printers and have been providing face shields for front-line workers at a number of facilities in that region.


For further information:

Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792
Sylvia Boyce, USW District 6 Health and Safety Co-ordinator, 905-741-9830, sboyce@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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