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Subcommittee Succeeds at Adding the Voice of Healthcare Workers to Healthcare Rulemaking Process
Assemblyman Lancman and Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried succeeded in adding healthcare workers' voice to the new "Public Health and Health Planning Council" (the Council), the product of a merger between the "State Hospital Review and Planning Council" (SHRPC), and the "Public Health Council," in this year's budget. The Council will now include at least one healthcare workers labor union representative.
Healthcare workers' lack of voice on the old SHRPC proved to be detrimental to healthcare employees in 2009 when SHRPC mandated, with no input from healthcare workers, that all healthcare workers must receive the H1N1 and the regular flu vaccines. Now, when the Council makes decisions, the voice of healthcare workers will be at the table.
Delta Airlines Employees Fight to Unionize
This November, over 30,000 Delta Airlines employees will have the chance to vote on whether or not to be represented by a union. In 2008, Northwest Airlines, a unionized company, merged with Delta Airlines, a non-unionized company. Following the merger, Northwest Airlines employees lost their union representation. In spite of Delta Airlines' fierce anti-union campaign, employees, including those who were previously employed by Northwest Airlines and are now employed by Delta Airlines, are eager to vote in favor of union representation.
At a rally sponsored by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Assemblyman Lancman reminded the workers in the crowd that union representation is the best way to ensure a safe workplace.
Subcommittee Staff Attends Workers' Compensation Conference
Subcommittee staff attended a conference hosted by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health on recent changes in workers' compensation medical treatment. Workers' compensation medical providers will now need to follow guidelines when treating employees with injuries to the back, neck, shoulder and knee. The WCB believes these changes, effective December 2010, will make treatment more efficient and effective.
The Subcommittee is reviewing whether employees who were assaulted on the job have sufficient accessibility to psychological treatment through workers' compensation insurance.
SEIU Committee of Interns and Residents
Concerned about Workplace Violence
Like other healthcare workers, interns and residents are concerned with workplace violence in private healthcare facilities.
The General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (Section (5)(a)(1)), which covers private employers, including private healthcare facilities, states that "each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees." However, OSHA rules do not contain a provision that specifically requires employers to establish workplace violence prevention programs. Such programs are now mandatory in New York State for all public sector employers, including public healthcare facilities, under the New York State Public Employer Workplace Violence Prevention Law.
The Subcommittee is working to find a way to ensure that private healthcare facilities protect employees against workplace violence.
Laborers Local 79 Join with Industry to Discuss Environmental
Protection for Emergency Clean-up Workers
Laborers' Local 79 and the Environmental Contractors Association have teamed up to advocate for the creation of standards to ensure that emergency responders are prepared to clean-up after emergency situations without compromising the health and safety of the responders or of the general public. The team is currently working with Councilman James Gennaro, Chair of the New York City Council Committee on Environmental Protection, on this issue. The Subcommittee is in full support of this effort.
Skanska Construction Family Health and Safety Day
Each year, Skanska Construction hosts a Family Health and Safety Day in New York City. During the day, safety demonstrations were conducted and health booths were set up to teach kids how to stay healthy and safe.
The first step to keeping employees safe on the job is education. Teaching kids how to stay safe at an early age is a good way to keep them safe when they start working. Young workers' safety is a top initiative for the Subcommittee.