WASHINGTON—AFT President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement today as the House Committee on Education and Labor approved H.R. 1309, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act introduced by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.). The bill is a historic first for federal legislation aimed at protecting healthcare and social service workers from extremely high rates of workplace violence:
“Violence is a daily threat for 15 million nurses, healthcare techs, social service workers and other care providers in the United States. Currently, there’s no federal legislation to protect them. No workers should go to their jobs scared for their safety.
“Workplace violence is an epidemic in these industries: The people caring for the sick, injured and mentally ill are more than five times more likely to experience workplace violence than other workers, leaving them with injuries that can end their careers, or even worse. With this bill, we tell them that they are as entitled as any other worker in this country to be safe on the job—and prevention is possible. Safer providers mean safer patients—and better care for everyone.
“Thanks to the leadership of Reps. Courtney, Bobby Scott, and Alma Adams and the more than 160 co-sponsors of H.R. 1309, we are moving toward building the safe and welcoming workplaces that all workers and the people they care for deserve. As a union of healthcare professionals, educators and public employees, we urge all representatives to support this legislation to finally make federal workplace-safety regulations a priority.”