USW member joins Sen. Baldwin for introduction of the Workplace Violence Act

Valencia Davis has worked in health care for 38 years, servicing the most vulnerable people in her community. Sometimes this has included working with patients on a psychiatric hold for their own protection, and like many health care workers, Davis has experienced workplace violence more than once.

This is why she and other USW activists are fighting for the passage of H.R. 1195, also known as the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act. Originally passed with bipartisan support by the U.S. House in spring 2021 thanks to Rep. Joe Courtney, the bill was introduced to the Senate last Wednesday, May 11, by Sen. Tammy Baldwin. 

Davis, who is a member of Local 7600, participated in the virtual press conference announcing the introduction of the bill, which has 26 co-sponsors in the Senate. She highlighted several violent incidents when she was put in harm’s way on the job.

“One time I was watching a patient on a psychiatric hold and out of nowhere he jumped up and attempted to lock me in his private room,” she said. “When I tried to open the door, he grabbed me, and I started to scream for help.”

In an April survey of 2,500 nurses from National Nurses United, 48 percent of nurses working in hospitals reported an increase in workplace violence, up from 31 percent in September 2021. Some states have enacted legislation on their own to address this growing crisis, including Davis’ home state of California, which, in 2019, passed a workplace violence standard.

“Now employers are required to make a plan that includes frontline caregivers’ input – and every health care worker in America deserves the same opportunity,” Davis said. “We deserve a safe workplace so we can provide the best care.”

Former USW Vice President of Human Affairs and current AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond also spoke at the press conference and demanded the government step in as workers’ lives are on the line.

“Workplace violence is not just part of the job,” said Redmond, who used to oversee the USW Health Care Workers Council. “It has been a worsening problem for more than a decade, and it is preventable. It is time for our Congress to act.”

USW members have been pushing for the Workplace Violence Act for years, and have even marched and lobbied in Washington to have their voices heard.

Click here to learn more about the bill!

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