SEIU President Mary Kay Henry Stands with California Healthcare Workers

We are so honored that SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry sent the following letter to the Cal/OSHA Standards Board today in anticipation of the June 19 vote on the California Safe Care Standard campaign’s Petition No. 538. Below is her letter; click here for a pdf version.

Marley Hart, Executive Officer
Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board
2520 Venture Oaks Way, Suite 350
Sacramento, CA 9S833

June 18, 2014

Dear Ms. Hart:

On behalf of the 2.1 million united members and the largest healthcare union in the United States, I am writing in full support of the adoption of Petition 538 for a Workplace Violence Prevention Standard for Healthcare Workers and the convening of an advisory committee to draft regulations.

We are proud that this Petition has been submitted to your Board by SEIU Local 121RN and the SEIU Nurse Alliance of California.  These organizations, along with other SEIU local unions in California and our SEIU State Council are dedicated to assisting the Board and Cal/OSHA to promulgate an effective, enforceable Workplace Violence Prevention Standard to protect all healthcare workers in California.

We are determined to stop the violence that has occurred to healthcare workers such as:

  • Donna Gross, a 54-year old psychiatric technician, who was strangled to death by a patient while working alone at Napa State Hospital in October 2010;
  • Cynthia Palomata, RN, a 55-year old Contra Costa County health services worker, who died from injuries she sustained after being assaulted by an inmate at the county jail in November 2010; and,
  • Two nurses who were stabbed while working this Easter Sunday at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in the Los Angeles area.

We very much appreciate that the Division of Occupational Safety and Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board have both recommended that the Petition be accepted and moved  to an advisory committee.

SEIU is ready to work together with the Board, the Division, healthcare employers, and all of the other stakeholders to create a standard that will protect healthcare workers, be feasible for employers and become a model for other states and for Federal OSHA, as with the groundbreaking Blood-borne Pathogen Standard of the late 1980s and the Safer Needle program of the late 1990s.

Sincerely,

Mary Kay Henry
International President

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