DAY ONE: Once again it’s early December so that means that it’s time for the National COSH Conference. A time when all the COSH groups from across the country gather to discuss our activities during the year, our successes and challenges, look forward to what is looming on the OHS horizon, give direction to and elect members to the National COSH Board of Directors.
As is often the case arrivals slowly begin to show up at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute outside Baltimore, MD. Depending on arrival time you may have time to check in to your room, grab a lunch and head over to the room that will be our home-base over the next two days.
Once checked in with the National COSH staff we receive name tags, materials, simultaneous translation equipment and table assignments.
Next we break into Small Group Panel Discussions centered around a choice of three topics: Our Turn To Confront Sexual Harassment; Addressing Security Issues: Temporary & Contingent Workers; Building Power For Immigrant Workers. One of the many reasons why it is better to send more COSH board or staff members if at all possible – there is just no way to participate in all of these important discussions without them!
Upon coming back together and reporting out to the other groups we move quickly to the Nomination of Board Members for the National COSH Board. One half of the board of directors comes up for election each year and Associate COSHs are able to hold up to three board positions at a time. This year there is also one board member that is not running for a second term. Nominations are held open until the start of Day 2 to give people a chance to contact those not present to ascertain whether they would be willing to accept nomination and to serve if elected.
After a short break we reconvene for a Banquet Dinner and a Cultural Night of singing and music, poetry, joke and story telling. Between the dinner and the night of cultural exchange the National COSH and Interfaith Worker Justice presented a number of awards.