By Richard Negri, Health and Safety Director, SEIU Local 121RN
When we began working on the California Safe Care Standard campaign to petition the Cal/OSHA Standards Board to write a comprehensive workplace violence prevention regulation for healthcare workers in the state, we went at it full force with educating, mobilizing, and organizing as many of us as possible. We knew that this campaign was going to be an intense challenge.
On June 19, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board heard from about 40 different SEIU members, staff, and allies about the hazard of workplace violence. After they listened to heart wrenching testimony and watched as we cried and laughed with the intensity of explaining what many are dealing with on a day-to-day basis, they began a discussion among themselves.
In that conversation, they were thankful for the testimony and admitted having their eyes widened to the hazard. They then assisted us in making history and voted unanimously to accept Petition No. 538 and to move us to what’s next — an Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee is a group of business, labor, and government leaders who will hammer out the details of this new regulation. It will likely convene for about 18 months before a final draft is ready for this Cal/OSHA Standards Board to vote, again, to approve.
We need to hear from you. Your stories of workplace violence are important going forward because they frequently highlight what could have / should have / if only had been in place to prevent the situation from occurring. You can fill out our online form, or just shoot us an email. What do YOU need at your workplace?
Finally, thank you to all of our SEIU members and allies who have spoken up about the issue of workplace violence for themselves and their co-workers. And, congratulations!