Local 5 Members Lobby for Workplace Safety Legislation
When Local 5 member Manuel Isaac Huizar Cornejo was shot and killed on the job at a San Jose Safeway store last year, he became part of a devastatingly expanding list of victims of workplace violence at retail stores.
While employees in all industries are at risk for violent incidents on the job, the threat has become particularly acute for frontline workers, most notably those who work in retail.
In April, California UFCW members traveled to Sacramento to lobby lawmakers to pass legislation that would require companies to implement basic protections to protect retail employees while at work.
California Senate Bill 553, introduced by San Jose Senator Dave Cortese would establish a floor of protections for workers by requiring basic safeguards including:
- Requiring employers to maintain a Violent Incident Log of all violent incidents against employees, including verbal harassment and post-incident investigations.
- Requiring employers to provide active shooter training.
- Requiring grocery and retail drug employers to provide shoplifter training.
- Prohibiting employers from maintaining policies that require workers to confront suspected active shoplifters.
OSHA has identified workplace violence as the second leading cause of fatal occupational injury and estimates that nearly two million workers are affected annually. On average, 1.3 million nonfatal violent crimes occur in the workplace annually, with female workers having higher rates than their male counterparts.
“It is crucial that our elected leaders hear directly from those who have been impacted by this violence, including from our members who are facing these risks on the job daily. They must hear their stories, their grief, and their fears,” says Local 5 President John Nunes.
The UFCW also supports national legislative efforts that have been introduced in Congress.
The STOP Violence Act would expand an existing program by providing funding for preventative security measures at active shooter sites.
The Safe Workplaces Act would direct the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health to conduct a study on threats of violence, including gun violence, in the workplace. Once the study is completed, OSHA will be tasked with developing best practices for employers to keep employees safe from these threats of violence which will be publicly disseminated.