U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh — who as Boston's mayor made his own story as a recovering alcoholic an integral part of his political profile — on Wednesday helped launch a union-sponsored initiative to combat addiction among workers.

Organized by the Massachusetts Building Trades Council, the statewide union that Walsh once led representing more than 75,000 construction workers, the initiative aims to coordinate the anti-addiction efforts individual unions already have established. It will begin with an awareness campaign "to reduce stigma endured by those who are struggling with addiction and to support their recovery efforts," according to a press release.

In a webinar kicking off the campaign, Walsh drew on his personal experience, saying: "I'm somebody in recovery who got my first access to treatment because I had good benefits from working construction projects in Boston and that gave me the opportunity to get into detox and to be able to really, honestly turn my life around. I'm able to be here as United States Secretary of Labor because of that support I got."

Recovery not only requires resources, Walsh continued, it requires community and happens person to person.

Studies have shown opioid use and overdose death rates are higher among U.S. construction workers. For some of those workers, addiction began with opioids prescribed as treatment for a work-related injury.

Frank Callahan, president of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council, said construction workers typically work through the pain of their injuries with painkillers, "because in our industry, if you don't work, you don't get paid."

One crucial distinction of union-supported recovery, he added, is job security.

"In most work places if you're not represented by a union, particularly in the construction industry, they'll say, 'Well, we see you have a trouble. Why don't you go get yourself cleaned up and when you're cleaned up, come back and we'll see if we have a job for you,'" Callahan said. "In our end, they're our members and we're looking out for them and their families."

The council's website shows a schedule of weekly recovery meetings open to union members and their families.

The meetings will take place mostly in Boston,which conflicts with the city's push to decentralize addiction treatment out of Boston and into other cities and towns.

Callahan said the meetings are separate from recovery services and added there may be more meeting options in cities and towns beyond Boston as the initiative expands beyond its initial phase.

Correction: An earlier version of this story mischaracterized the council’s scope of recovery services. The initiative encompasses all addiction recovery.