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University of New Mexico fires Wobbly in safety beef
by Abq Wobblies/NM iMC Sunday, Mar. 05, 2006 at 10:58 PM

Albuquerque Wobblies are assisting a member fired by the University of New Mexico despite ten years of dedicated, accident-free work for insisting on a safe workplace.

University of New Me...
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Industrial Worker - March 2006

Feydoun “Fred” Mahinfarahmand’s job as woodshop supervisor was eliminated Dec. 2 by the School of Architecture and Planning, citing the unsafe conditions he had been protesting. The woodshop is now closed.

Fred was hired as woodshop supervisor in early 1996, helping students and teachers with their projects and teaching them how to use the shop safely. In 1998, UNM’s safety inspectors found that the shop’s dust collection system was far below OSHA standards. Dust inhalation is a major occupational hazard for woodworkers. The report estimated that the problem could be fixed for $8,000. The school promised to fix the dust collector in 1999, but nothing happened.

After years of abusive, condescending micromanagement and the administration dragging their feet on fixing the dust collection system, Fred decided that enough was enough. He had written and spoken with his boss. He had gone through the Dispute Resolution Process. He had written the president. None of the official channels worked.

So in October 2004 he started picketing the School to draw attention to the hostile work environment and the health hazards in the shop. He also joined the IWW and started working with the union to change the unhealthy conditions and push for full-time employment with benefits. IWW organizers are now working to win reinstatement, and to get the unsafe conditions remedied.

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