Workplace Violence: Silent Epidemic
Publisher: Against the Current
Date Written: 01/03/2015
Year Published: 2015
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX20913
Workplace violence ranges from threats and curses to murder. Spitting on bus drivers is so common in New York City that their union won them DNA kits last year, to collect saliva.
A study covering 7,169 emergency room nurses found that 43% had been verbally abused by a patient or visitor just in the previous week, one percent were physically abused, and 11% were both physically and verbally abused.
For women, homicide is the leading cause of death on the job. It is the fourth-highest cause of workplace death overall, with 463 workplace homicides in 2012.
Even the normally terse Bureau of Labor Statistics remarks that "workplace violence can strike anywhere, anytime, and no one is immune." Government agencies say that workplace violence is on the decline, but for certain categories of workers, it doesnt feel that way.
Two bus drivers unions held a conference in 2011 "responding to the recent massive increase in violence against transit operators." The Department of Transportation held a summit on bus violence last year including unions, police chiefs, bus manufacturers, and agency heads.
Asked if the problem were getting worse, President Larry Hanley of the Amalgamated Transit Union ticked off three incidents just in the previous couple of weeks: a driver slashed in the face, another held up at gunpoint, a woman driver punched in the breast.