AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, all employees deserve a workplace free from violence; and

WHEREAS, the National Crime Victimization Survey defines workplace violence as nonfatal violence against employed persons age 16 or older that occurred while they were at work or on duty; and

WHEREAS, healthcare workers face a significant risk of experiencing violence while on the job; and

WHEREAS, the healthcare sector makes up just 9 percent of the overall U.S. workforce, but it experiences nearly as many violent injuries as all other industries combined; and

WHEREAS, 2015 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that incidents of serious workplace violence are four times more common in healthcare than in other private industries; and

WHEREAS, between 2005 and 2014, the rate of healthcare workplace violence increased by 110 percent in private sector hospitals; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that while under 20 percent of all workplace injuries happen to healthcare workers, those same healthcare workers suffer 50 percent of all assaults; and

WHEREAS, healthcare assault rates correlate with time spent in direct patient contact, making nurses, nurses’ aides, and other healthcare assistants the most frequent victims of attack; and

WHEREAS, according to the Journal of Emergency Nursing study, only about 29 percent of nurses who experienced a physical attack reported the incident; and

WHEREAS, American Federation of Teachers Nurses and Health Professionals members frequently describe impediments to reporting incidents of workplace violence either internally or to the police; and

WHEREAS, 27 of the 100 fatalities in healthcare and social service settings that occurred in 2013 were due to assaults or violent acts; and

WHEREAS, workplace violence is a serious concern for AFT Nurses and Health Professionals members:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will advocate for and assist affiliates in lobbying for new or strengthened laws to protect members from workplace violence, including felony laws and comprehensive prevention program laws; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will work with affiliates to educate members and lawmakers about workplace violence prevention programs; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will work with affiliates to educate members about the importance of reporting all workplace violence to the employer, including assaults, near misses, threats and verbal abuse; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will encourage affiliates to bargain for user-friendly reporting systems and reprisal-free reporting; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will work with affiliates to educate members about their right to report assaults to the police and to press charges; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will encourage affiliates to work with employers to develop a post-experience support initiative to assist in recovery from workplace violence.


Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.