Friday, June 09, 2006

Pataki Signs Public Employee Workplace Violence Bill

In a major victory for New York public employees -- and for the organizing efforts of New York's public empoyee unions -- Governor George Pataki has signed a bill calling for managers of government worksites where at least 20 permanent full-time employees work to assess the sites' potential for violence.

Passage of the bill was the result of a major organizing campaign by the New York Public Employees Federation and the Civil Service Employees Association (ASFCME Local 1000).

New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) President Roger E. Benson applauded the signing of PEF’s Workplace Violence Prevention bill by Governor George E. Pataki. “The governor has led the fight to reduce violence and crime in our communities,” said Benson. “By signing the Workplace Violence Prevention bill, he is extending that effort to public-sector work sites.”


PEF mounted an aggressive Stop Workplace Violence Campaign earlier this year urging the passage of three bills including the Workplace Violence Prevention bill. PEF will continue to push the two remaining bills; The Judi Scanlon bill (S.207 Maziarz/A.2570 Hoyt) directs that an Office of Mental Health employee who is required to enter the residence of a person with serious mental illness can request to be accompanied by another employee for safety reasons. The Workplace Injury Disclosure and Accountability bill, (S.6480 Robach/A.9692 John) amends the Civil Service Law to require that the state Department of Civil Service prepare an annual report about injury rates among state employees due to workplace injuries in state agencies and the costs incurred by the state as a result of those injuries.
CSEA President Danny Donohue was also pleased with the Governor's action:
"CSEA believes this legislation is a common sense approach to a challenging situation and Governor Pataki has demonstrated good sense by signing it into law," said CSEA President Danny Donohue. "Assessing and reducing risks in public work sites will not only benefit the people who work in those locations, it will benefit all the people of New York in many ways. The governor's approval will also make New York the national leader in this area as we should be."

Donohue stated that the public will be safer when they use public facilities. He also pointed out that reducing injuries and the potential violence will save taxpayers money and improve morale and productivity in the public work force. CSEA has mounted a statewide media campaign in support of the measure in recent months and worked vigorously with its union activists at the grassroots level across the state to make the legislation a reality.
In addition to the legislative activity, CSEA and PEF are running major campaigns to help their members prevent assaults in the workplace. CSEA is conducting training and doing workplace assessments. PEF's Stop Workplace Violence campaign involves:
  1. Ten day-long mobilization trainings around the state where workers develop workplace violence prevention "action plans" to implement in their workplaces
  2. Collaborations with district attorneys as part of an effort to eliminate the double standard whereby crime in the street is prosecuted vigorously but crime in the workplace is felt to be "part of the job"
Both unions have suffered high numbers of assaults and murders of its members who work in social services and mental health.

Related Articles: