Precarious employment is a complex problem that impacts an increasing number of workers in all economic sectors, resulting in adverse worker, family, and community health outcomes. Characterized by low wages, hazardous conditions, few benefits, and limited opportunities for workplace participation or advancement, precarious jobs preclude workplace-based health interventions. Workplace-based interventions may also disregard political, economic, and social factors that lead to the fracturing of traditional employer-employee relationships and discriminatory practices. Policy, systems and environmental (PSE) initiatives may be applicable to improve health for workers in precarious jobs by addressing community and structural-level barriers to health. However, little is known about how PSE approaches might promote healthy work.
Healthy Communities through Healthy Work (HCHW) is an action research outreach project of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Center for Healthy Work, a NIOSH-funded Center of Excellence for Total Worker Health®. Based on HCHW’s first action research phase results, the Healthy Work Collaborative was developed. The Healthy Work Collaborative consisted of eight teams of multi-sectoral partners representing public health, healthcare, union, worker center, and worker advocacy organizations. Teams participated in a six-session capacity building process in the summer of 2018. This webinar will share the evidence-based development of the Healthy Work Collaborative; its implementation and lessons learned; and early evaluation results.
Take home messages:
- Precarious employment is a complex problem that impacts an increasing number of workers in all economic sectors
- Precarious work is characterized by low wages, hazardous conditions, few benefits, and limited opportunities for workplace participation or advancement
- Precarious jobs preclude workplace-based health interventions
- Workplace interventions often fail to address the root causes of precarious work
- Policy, systems and environmental (PSE) initiatives may be applicable to improve health for workers in precarious jobs
- Public health can do more to address the structural determinants of health
- There is an opportunity for public health and health care to partner with the labor sector to address precarious work and other structural determinants of health
- Understanding power and the levers of change are important skills for public health and healthcare organizations to be effective in addressing health inequity
- PSE change and structural approaches to addressing complex change are needed
- The labor sector has a deep understanding and clear approaches to conducting PSE change
- Capacity building and leadership development provides sustainable approaches to organizations, communities and systems
- Public health and healthcare and the labor sector together can be champions of change and the warriors of the future to address precarious work