WASHINGTON—AFT President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement on the House of Representatives’ passage of the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R.1309):
“Every single worker in this country should have the right to a safe and welcoming workplace, no matter what job they do. They should know their employers have done everything possible to keep them safe from violence or harm. Yet our nurses, healthcare professionals and social service workers—the people who take care of us when we need them, who have devoted their careers to looking after the aging, the sick and the injured—have no specific federal protections at work. As such, these workers face potential violence every day without adequate remedy.
"Today, the House of Representatives passed a bill to change that. The representatives sent a strong message that violence on the job is not inevitable or acceptable for the millions of healthcare professionals who provide care in our communities but increasingly find themselves subject to workplace attacks.
"In order to stop these attacks from happening, this bill would require employers to develop violence prevention plans to mitigate risk factors in healthcare facilities. The bill also creates whistleblower protections for the people who work in front-line care jobs, so they don’t have to fear retaliation for speaking out against what they see in the workplace.
"I applaud Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) for his tireless efforts to move the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act to passage. As this bipartisan legislation moves to the Senate, I strongly urge legislators to recognize that workplace safety is not a partisan issue but rather a human right."