For more than 20 years, Shirley Egan has stood up for the health and safety of gaming workers – not just in her workplace of Casino Windsor, but across the industry.
“When we take on these roles, we need to think about these injured workers. Their lives are on the line,” Egan said as she accepted the award.
Egan credited the training she received in Port Elgin for not only the skills to be an advocate for her co-workers, but also the confidence to do so.
“When we are sitting at that table, we are their equal. I may not have a law degree, but I’m their equal,” she said.
Egan is the 2019 recipient of the Bud Jimmerfield Award, handed out annually to someone who has demonstrated strong leadership and a proven commitment to health and safety, and preventing future occupational diseases, deaths, and injuries.
Egan played an integral role in organizing Casino Windsor in 1994, and soon after became the health and safety representative for the workplace.
She was also part of the Gaming Workers’ Health and Safety Research project published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, an innovative project that for the first time asked front line workers how the fast-expanding gaming world of work was affecting their health.
In 2015, Egan became the Workers’ Compensation representative at her casino and continues to work on behalf of Local 444 members on health and safety and workers’ compensation issues.
She has served as a workers compensation discussion leader in Port Elgin for more than two decades, and has helped develop and update course materials. Egan is also the on-site Employee Family Assistance Program representative for the casino members.
Her work has continued the legacy that Bud Jimmerfield left behind as a determined health and safety, environment and workers' compensation activist in his own workplace, as well as in other workplaces and communities across Canada.