Topics: News, Press

Assembly Supports Essential Bill Protecting Workers from Workplace Violence

Sacramento, CA – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Western States Council applauded the California State Assembly for passing SB 553 (Cortese), which will require employers to implement basic protections to protect workers from violence while they’re on the job, which includes developing and implementing a workplace violence prevention plan, logging incidents in a violent incident log, providing workers with workplace violence prevention training.

“There is a safety crisis at retail stores, and employers are not doing their part to keep their workers and their customers safe,” said Mark Ramos, president, UFCW Western States Council and UFCW Local 1428. “When dangerous situations arise, workers must be trained on how to respond so they can go home to their loved ones after their shift. SB 553 puts the responsibility back on employers to make sure their stores, and the people who work and shop there, are safe. UFCW members applaud the lawmakers who prioritized workers’ safety, and the safety of their constituents today by passing SB 553. We urge the Governor to quickly sign this bill into law.”

Over the last several years, reports of workplace violence from members have skyrocketed – now most of our members have been the victim of at least one incident of threatened or actual workplace violence and many intolerably experience workplace violence on a regular basis. Members have been robbed at gunpoint; they’ve been attacked physically, some to the point of needing to be hospitalized; they’ve been spat upon by people infected with COVID-19; they are routinely threatened with violence; and at some stores, members have even been murdered while performing their jobs.

Workplace violence incidents are becoming more prevalent across all different types of workplaces in California – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified workplace violence as the third leading cause of fatal occupational injury at the workplace and estimates that nearly two million workers are affected by workplace violence each year. Last year, the F.B.I. said more than half of active shooter attacks occurred in places of commerce, including stores. However, the California Division Of Occupational Safety & Health (Cal/OSHA) has yet to adopt a General Industry Workplace Violence Standard to protect workers on the job. Cal/OSHA adopted a Healthcare Workplace Violence Standard in 2017, but this standard only offers protections for healthcare workers, excluding most of California’s workforce. Six years is too long to wait for workers who experience workplace deaths, injuries, and incidents daily. 

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September 11, 2023

Contact: Jenna Thompson, 949.246.1620, [email protected] 

Assembly Supports Essential Bill Protecting Workers from Workplace Violence