Altered Lives Project: Moon’s Story
Moon began working for a large hog processing plant in 2011 in Southern Ontario. Over her years at work there, Moon processed hogs with vibrating knives, packed meat and even hog stamped. These tasks resulted in two significant workplace injuries.
While trimming hog fat in the packaging department, Moon developed bilateral repetitive strain injuries from bagging semi frozen, wet, slippery meat.
Did you know that February 28 is Repetitive Strain Injury day?
She tried treatments such as physiotherapy, wrist splints and cortisone injections. The treatments helped but Moon was slow to heal and, in 2014, she had surgery.
The WSIB denied Moon’s first injury claim. After some lengthy appeals battles, with the help of the UFCW Local 175 Workers’ Compensation Department, Moon had her denied claim overturned. She received fair and just compensation for her surgery and work-related injuries.
After her surgery, however, Moon required modified duties so she could work while still healing on the job. Her employer gave her some left-hand only work as a hog stamper. In the short time performing this task, Moon developed a left shoulder injury.
This injury claim took Moon back to appeals for another fight with the WSIB. Once again, Moon argued successfully that her injury was work-related. She received physiotherapy payments and any pending surgery benefits as well.
Years of suffering from her work-related injuries have taken a toll on Moon’s daily life at home with her husband and sons. Simple tasks that seemed so natural and easy – vacuuming up the stairs, showering, getting dressed – are now challenges.
“Everything I do now takes time,” says Moon. “Time to get up, prepare myself – makeup, brushing my teeth, making lunch – I move much slower.”
Moon’s fight to receive compensation stemmed from her knowing that she had rights. Despite the struggles with the WSIB process and having her claims denied, she knew that her injuries were because of work and that she needed help to prove she was telling the truth.
Moon’s family was an incredible support throughout her ordeal and since. She is also thankful to the Union. “I’m here today because of the union,” said Moon. “They helped me fight for my rights.”
Members of minorities groups often fear reporting things like workplace injuries. Now, Moon tries to show new hires and trainees her hands because they are destroyed from work. “I wanted to report this but didn’t know who to tell,” she said.
By reaching out to new groups of workers, Moon can make sure they know that they know their rights and that they deserve proper training to do their jobs safely. She wants them to avoid injuries like hers and know who to report injuries to if they do happen.
Moon wants her co-workers to know: “You have rights. Don’t give up.”
If you’ve been injured at work and have received a denial to your claim, make sure to contact the UFCW Locals 175 & 633 Workers’ Compensation department at 1-800-267-1977 or email@example.com.
Read more stories from the Altered Lives Project!
Download the PDF | Published in the Spring 2019 issue of Checkout magazine.