Groundbreaking USW Guide on ‘Stop Work Authority’ Will Protect Workers

Contact: Steve Sallman, (412) 562-2590,

The United Steelworkers (USW) today announced the publication of a new groundbreaking guide from its Health, Safety, and Environment Department. The book, “Bargaining for Stop Work Authority to Prevent Injuries and Save Lives,” is the first and most comprehensive publication designed to help workers develop programs that allow them to stop unsafe or unhealthy operations and processes until hazards are resolved.

“The United Steelworkers is proud to issue this path-breaking guide,” said USW International President Tom Conway. “OSHA does not require stop work authority, so it’s up to us. This booklet will be an essential part of protecting workers’ lives on the job.”

The publication includes information on the importance of well-designed stop work authority programs and the pitfalls of ineffective programs that exist at many sites.

“The unfortunate reality is that flawed stop-work programs exist at many work sites, and this booklet will help to change that,” Conway said. “In addition, workers often face challenges, including retaliation, in their efforts to stop unhealthy or unsafe work.”

The guide provides model SWA collective bargaining language and checklists to help design the best SWA policies and procedures for industrial workplaces. Stop work authority is a mandatory subject of bargaining under the National Labor Relations Act.

Dr. David Michaels, former Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health in the Obama administration and currently a professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health, said the USW’s guide can help prevent injuries, deaths and environmental devastation.

“It should be read and used by workers, safety committee members, union leaders, and safety professionals in a wide range of industries,” Michaels said.

Debra Coyle, executive director of the New Jersey Work Environment Council, the nation’s longest-standing state labor-environmental alliance, said that the guide can help protect workers and communities.

“By applying the guide’s lessons and winning stop work authority, unions can better protect both their members and communities from chemical fires, explosions, toxic releases, and other dangers,” Coyle said.

The 27-page publication can be found at Users are free to print and distribute the publication for non-profit training and educational programs, providing they credit the United Steelworkers (USW).

About the authors:

Steve Sallman is the director of the United Steelworkers (USW) Health, Safety and Environment Department. Sallman, who has investigated numerous workplace injuries and fatalities, worked at the Bridgestone/Firestone plant in Des Moines, Iowa, for 13 years, where he served as the full-time union safety and health committee chairman for eight years. He also was a safety and health consultant with the Iowa Division of Labor-OSHA. Contact Sallman at

Rick Engler served as a member of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board from 2015 to 2020 after being nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He was the founder of the Philadelphia Area Project on Occupational Safety and Health and the New Jersey Work Environment Council. Contact Engler at

The USW represents 850,000 workers employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-6961

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222