It may be a macabre coincidence, but on almost the same day in late February that a key lawmaker reintroduced legislation in Congress to prevent violence against nurses on the job, the D.C. City Council learned that a mental health patient had attacked a nurse just the month before. The difference this time is that the nurse, who suffered a badly bruised face and two fractured ribs, bravely went on local television in D.C. to tell her story, show her injured face and lobby for change to protect her and others like her. The national legislation, pushed for years by National Nurses United, would force hospitals and nursing homes to create and implement workable plans to prevent what happened to Lateefat Ayodeji-Coker at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. The patient escaped his restraints, jumped over the counter at a nursing station, grabbed a telephone and beat her badly with it. If Saint E’s management had installed a higher barrier in front of the nurses at the station, which the D.C. Nurses Association has been demanding, the patient would never have gotten over it. The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, HR 1309, would direct OSHA to create a national standard requiring health care and social service employers to develop and implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan. The House Education and Labor Committee plans a hearing on it soon.
In today’s labor history, on this date in 1885, the Sailors’ Union of the Pacific, a union of mariners, fishermen and boatmen working aboard U.S. flag vessels, was founded in San Francisco, where it is still headquartered today.
Today’s labor quote is from Joe Hill’s song “There is Power in a Union” which appeared in the IWW’s Little Red Song Book on this date in 1913, sung here by Folk Hogan:
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