The ShakeUp is devoted to environmental and social justice issues and if you are a follower of the program you know how vast a landscape those topics form and how intertwined they are. On Friday we were all about the environment, specifically, the human made one in factories where plastics are created by blue collar workers working in a toxic milieu, and the focus for this program is women and cancer. We had two related themes to discuss: a documentary film, Pink Ribbon$ Inc., an examination of the campaigning around breast cancer to be screened on Thursday, Jan 27, and a conference to follow the next day: Are Women Automotive Plastic Workers at Risk?: Starting the Conversation.
This event, this “community conversation” is arranged by the National Network on Environments and Women’s Health (NNEWH) and the Canadian Auto Workers Union. As some background, as quoted in a chapter of an upcoming book by James T. Brophy, Margaret M. Keith, Robert DeMatteo, Michael Gilbertson, Andrew E. Watterson, and Matthias Beck, “According to Industry Canada (2010), plastics manufacturing generates $20.7 billion annually and employs about 91,000 people in Canada, primarily in small and medium sized firms with a low level of unionization. Forty-eight percent of plastics firms are located in Ontario where about 51,000 people are employed. The automotive component, which comprises about 18 percent of the overall industry, dominates plastics manufacturing in EssexCounty, which is generally regarded as the automotive capital of Canada.