Activists talk workplace violence at USW Civil and Human Rights Conference

In a packed room in the Hilton Minneapolis, USW members last week discussed the epidemic of workplace violence at the Civil and Human Rights Conference. The participating activists came from all districts and a variety of industries, from health care and steel to higher education and the public sector.

The workshop was one of dozens that took place throughout the three-day triennial conference and focused on the causes of workplace violence, as well as what unions can do to curb the endemic.

For many workers, especially in the health care sector including where violence has increased by 30 percent since 2012, much of the problem stems from understaffing and lack of resources.

“We’re told it’s just part of the job,” said Marketa A. Anderson of Local 9439 in Northern Minnesota. “I have some aides who have to care for 16-20 patients on their own.”

The members brainstormed methods for preventing violence at work such as using collective bargaining to hold managers and employers accountable, putting extra security controls in place, and hosting de-escalation trainings.

To get involved with the USW’s #SafeJobsNow postcard campaign that is pushing for passage of the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, click here.

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