New Item: Franklin council hears results of recreational assets survey – Oil City Derrick

The results of a city-wide recreational assets survey sent out last September were presented to Franklin City Council on Monday night.

Amanda Power, community development director, said that the city received 455 responses to the survey between Sept. 7 and Nov. 28, which was “pretty good” and more than she anticipated, she said.

Javascript is required for you to be able to read premium content. Please enable it in your browser settings.

kAm%96 DFCG6J H2D >256 2G2:=23=6 @?=:?6 2?5 D6?E @FE H:E9 E96 $6AE6>36C H2E6C 3:==D 7@C 4:EJ C6D:56?ED E@ 7:== @FE “E@ 82F86 E96 AF3=:4’D 56D:C6D ๐Ÿ˜• C64C62E:@?2= 2>6?:E:6D 2?5 @E96C 4@>>F?:EJ 2DD6ED 2?5 D6CG:46D[” 2?5 E96 4:EJ C6BF6DE65 @?=J @?6 DFCG6J 36 4@>A=6E65 A6C 9@FD69@=5[ !@H6C D2:5] $96 D2:5 E96 C6DA@?D6 >256 FA 23@FE `eT @7 uC2?<=:? 9@FD69@=5D]k^Am

kAm“%96 BF6DE:@?D 6I2>:?65 9@H C6D:56?ED AC:@C:E:K65 E96 D6CG:46D 4FCC6?E=J @776C65 3J E96 4:EJ[ 3C@25=J[ 2?5 E96? 9@H E96J C2E65 2?5 :?E6C24E65 H:E9 @FC 4FCC6?E C64C62E:@?2= DA246D 2?5 2DD6ED >@C6 DA64:7:42==J[” D96 D2:5] “(6 2=D@ 2D<65 E96> E@ C2E6 9@H E96J 76=E E96 4:EJ H2D A6C7@C>:?8 ๐Ÿ˜• E6C>D @7 42C6[ >2:?E6?2?46 2?5 D276EJ[ 2?5 E96? =2DE=J H6 82F865 AF3=:4 :?E6C6DE ๐Ÿ˜• ?6H AC@;64ED]”k^Am

kAm!@H6C D2:5 E92E H96? 2D<65 H9:49 D6CG:46D 2C6 >@DE :>A@CE2?E E@ C6D:56?ED’ BF2=:EJ @7 =:76[ H9:=6 A@=:46 2?5 7:C6 D6CG:46D 2D H6== 2D C@25 A2G:?8 2?5 A=@H:?8 H6C6 E96 E@A 49@:46D[ C6D:56?ED D2:5 C64C62E:@? 2?5 6G6?ED H6C6 DE:== G6CJ :>A@CE2?E E@ E96:C BF2=:EJ @7 =:76]k^Am

kAm!6@A=6 HC@E6 4@>>6?ED E92E C64C62E:@?2= 2DD6ED[ 6DA64:2==J 6G6?ED 2?5 A2C<D[ “2C6 H92E >2<6 uC2?<=:?[ uC2?<=:?[” D96 D2:5]k^Am

kAm(96? A6@A=6 H6C6 2D<65 E@ C2E6 H9:49 C64C62E:@?2= 2DD6ED E96J FD65 E96 >@DE[ E96 5@H?E@H? A2C<D 2?5 E96 32?5DE2?5[ 7@==@H65 3J D:56H2=<D[ 36?496D[ EC2:=D 2?5 A:4?:4 E23=6D[ H6C6 C2?<65 E96 9:896DE[ H9:=6 ?6:893@C9@@5 A=2J8C@F?5D 76== ๐Ÿ˜• E96 >:55=6[ 2?5 |:==6C\$:3=6J !2C< 2DD6ED H6C6 E96 =62DE FD65[ D96 D2:5]k^Am

kAmp== 2DA64ED @7 uC2?<=:?’D C64C62E:@?2= 2DD6ED H6C6 C2E65 23@G6 D2E:D724E@CJ[ H9:49 “7@C 2 D>2== E@H? H:E9 =:>:E65 C6D@FC46D[ ๐Ÿ˜€ G6CJ A@D:E:G6[” !@H6C D2:5]k^Am

kAm!@D:E:G6 4@>>6?ED :?4=F565 2EEC24E:G6 2?5 H6==\>2:?E2:?65 A2C<D[ 2DD6ED 36:?8 7C66 2?5 2G2:=23=6 E@ 6G6CJ@?6[ =@ED @7 8C62E 6G6?ED[ 2?5 4:EJ DE277 5@:?8 2 8C62E ;@3[ D96 D2:5]k^Am

kAm~? E96 “C@@> 7@C :>AC@G6>6?E” D:56 @7 E9:?8D[ D96 D2:5 A6@A=6 2D<65 7@C >@C6 G2C:6EJ @7 6BF:A>6?E @C >@C6 @7 :E6>D =:<6 36?496D[ EC2:=D[ AC@8C2>D 7@C <:5D[ H2E6C 7@F?E2:?D[ 2?5 D@ 7@CE9] “%96C6 H6C6 2 =@E @7 4@>>6?ED C682C5:?8 psp 4@>A=:2?46 2?5 ?665:?8 E@ 255C6DD 2446DD:3:=:EJ[” !@H6C D2:5]k^Am

kAm$96 25565 E92E D>@<:?8[ 5C:?<:?8 2?5 5CF8 FD6 H6C6 2 4@?46C? 6DA64:2==J @? A=2J8C@F?5D]k^Am

kAm#6D:56?ED H6C6 >@C6 :?E6C6DE65 ๐Ÿ˜• :>AC@G:?8 6I:DE:?8 C64C62E:@?2= 724:=:E:6D 2?5 A=2J8C@F?5D H:E9:? uC2?<=:?[ 6DA64:2==J 5@H?E@H? A2C<D 2?5 E96 32?5DE2?5[ @G6C 4C62E:?8 ?6H @?6D @C 24BF:C:?8 =2?5 7@C ?6H @?6D]k^Am

kAm!6@A=6 6DA64:2==J H2?E65 E96 4:EJ E@ :>AC@G6 D:56H2=<D[ 255 AF3=:4 C6DEC@@>D[ :?4C62D6 D276EJ[ 4=62?=:?6DD 2?5 >2:?E6?2?46 @7 6I:DE:?8 A2C<D[ 2?5 C6>@G6 3=:89E 2?5 >2<6 FD6 @7 232?5@?65 AC@A6CE:6D]k^Am

kAmu@C E96D6 BF6DE:@?D[ “C6D:56?ED 8@E E@ AFE E96>D6=G6D ๐Ÿ˜• 4:EJ 4@F?4:=’D D9@6D 2 =:EE=6 3:E 2?5 AC:@C:E:K6 AC@;64ED 2?5 E2I 5@==2CD[” !@H6C D2:5]k^Am

kAm|@DE C6DA@?56?ED 5:5?’E 7:?5 E96 |:==6C\$:3=6J !@@= @C E96 :562 @7 ?6H DA=2D9 A25 :>A@CE2?E[ ?@C 5:5 E96 :562 @7 2 H2=<:?8 @C 3:<:?8 EC2:= 36EH66? uC2?<=:? w6:89ED 2?5 E96 5@H?E@H? 82C?6C >F49 DFAA@CE] w@H6G6C[ A=6?EJ @7 :?E6C6DE H2D 6IAC6DD65 ๐Ÿ˜• E96 A@DD:3:=:EJ @7 2 5@8 A2C<[ !@H6C D2:5]k^Am

kAmpE E96 4@?4=FD:@? @7 E96 AC6D6?E2E:@?[ !@H6C D2:5 D96 9@A65 E96 DFCG6J H@F=5 96=A 4@F?4:= AC:@C:E:K6 C6D@FC46D]k^Am

kAm“%96 4@>>F?:EJ 56G6=@A>6?E 56A2CE>6?E ๐Ÿ˜€ 24E:G6=J =@@<:?8 7@C A@E6?E:2= 8C2?E @AA@CEF?:E:6D E@ 36?67:E uC2?<=:? 2?5 E96 2DD6ED 4@G6C65 3J E96 DFCG6J[” D96 D2:5] “%92?< J@F E@ 6G6CJ@?6 H9@ E@@< E96 DFCG6J 2?5 96=A65 FD AFE 2== E9:D E@86E96C]”k^Am

kAms6AFEJ >2J@C s@??2 u=6E496C 2?5 >2J@C s@F8 q2<6C E92?<65 E96 4@>>F?:EJ 56G6=@A>6?E 56A2CE>6?E 7@C 2 “;@3 H6== 5@?6” 2?5 7@C “2 =@E @7 E:>6 2?5 677@CE]”k^Am

HELEN FIELDING, reporter for The Derrick and The News-Herald, can be reached at helenfielding.thederrick@gmail.com or 814-677-8374.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Creating a Safe Workplace for Self-Storage Employees and Tenants … – Inside Self-Storage

Every year, employees and customers are victims of workplace violence. In fact, the problem is escalating, with shootings, assaults and harassment happening in a variety of businesses, including self-storage. It’s likely worse than we even realize, as these crimes are underreported.

So, what can you do to protect staff and tenants at your self-storage facility? The first step is to identify the various forms of workplace violence including intimidation, physical and sexual assault, and harassment for gender, race or sexual orientation. The second is to ensure everyone who works at the operation is trained to recognize the early signs of potential violent behavior and report it when necessary.

A Definition

Workplace violence refers to any threatening or disruptive behavior that occurs in a place of business. It can take on many forms. Most people think of physical attacks, but it can also be verbal or psychological through bullying and harassment. Swearing, insults, condescending or racist remarks, harmful pranks, and other acts all fall under this umbrella.

Workplace violence can be internal or external. It might originate from customers, vendors, coworkers or supervisors. For example, a self-storage tenant who’s upset about a late fee might shake their fist or curse at an employee. A facility manager might shove another team member or block them from leaving the office. Both are acts of workplace violence.

Watch for Red Flags

While violence in the workplace is becoming more common, there are ways to spot potential problems. One notable red flag is a drastic change in an individual’s behavior. For instance, you might notice that a self-storage employee or coworker who’s generally reliable suddenly starts coming in late or fails to show up at all. They might miss deadlines, question a supervisor’s authority or become disrespectful of others. Additional warning signs include emotional language or frequent crying, or making inappropriate comments, particularly around acts of violence to themselves or others.

Threats can also come from self-storage tenants. Your renters could be hostile or threaten onsite staff. Suggestive language or unwanted advances also constitute as harassment.

Not all of these behaviors mean that a person will become violent. They’re simply something to note and a reminder to proceed with caution.

Report and Act

If you ever feel threatened in your self-storage workplace, report it to your owner or supervisor immediately, or your human-resources department if you have one. Sometimes the situation warrants a phone call to the local authorities. If you feel it’s necessary to protect yourself, report an incident anonymously.

All incidents, no matter how seemingly insignificant, should be investigated. It’s crucial that your self-storage company intervenes at any sign of a feasibly hostile or aggressive situation and takes swift action when warranted.

Train Everyone

Though workplace violence can strike at any self-storage operation at any time, there are measures your organization can take to address potential problems. Training can prepare employees for unexpected incidents, so they can focus on their job without feeling threatened or insecure. It’ll also help prepare the team on how to address threats, annoyance, bullying or other hazardous behavior, which results in increased productivity and happier staff.

Your company’s training should explain how to:

  • Identify and define types of violence
  • Identify risk factors and potentially violent people
  • Comply with requirements, guidelines, record-keeping and reporting
  • Manage and survive threats, disruptive behavior or violence

Every self-storage operation should establish a zero-tolerance policy for workplace violence. It’s vital to have written rules on the subject and that all employees read and understand them. Here are some examples of prohibited conduct to cover:

  • Causing physical harm to a vendor, customer or other employee
  • Making threatening or bullying statements
  • Exhibiting combative or hostile behavior that creates a sensible fear of injury or endangers another individual with emotional distress
  • Intentionally harming property that belongs to the company, another employee, vendor or customer
  • Committing acts provoked by or related to sexual harassment or domestic violence

Everyone on your self-storage team should know how to recognize and minimize these types of occurrences. Your company training should teach and motivate you to build awareness, comply with guidelines, keep suitable records and report incidents when they happen.

It’s the right of every self-storage employee to feel safe at work. Your company should create control measures to reduce potential workplace violence, and every member of the team should know how to handle scenarios such as a robbery or other crime, hostile interactions with coworkers or customers, and acts of harassment from internal or external sources. With a zero-tolerance policy and the right staff training, everyone in your operation can understand how to protect themselves and each other.

Angie Decembre is the regional training manager for Spartan Investment Group, which syndicates investor capital to develop commercial real estate, including self-storage facilities. Angie has more than 10 years of property-management and hospitality experience as well as extensive leadership experience in staff development, process and productivity improvements, and curriculum design. For more information, email [email protected].

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: ‘No-brainer’: Group pushes for change with harassment bill – BarrieToday

Provincial bill would create process for municipal councils to remove members who violate workplace violence and harassment policies

Bill 5 is picking up steam throughout the province and a group of Simcoe County residents behind it say they’re optimistic the legislation will go through. 

The bill would amend the Municipal Act of 2001 to require the code of conduct for municipal councillors and members of local boards to include a requirement for those councillors and members to comply with workplace violence and harassment policies.

The provincial bill would create a process for municipal councils to remove their members who violate workplace violence and harassment policies.

The movement, dubbed “The Women of Ontario Say No,” has attracted support throughout the province, from municipal councillors as far north as Kenora, to former premier Kathleen Wynne, who will be a delegate speaking to the motion at the Richmond Hill city council meeting on Wednesday. 

Emily McIntosh, one of the people behind the push, says she’s optimistic about the attention the bill has been receiving.  

“We are connecting with every single person who we can think of that can help us elevate this conversation,” McIntosh told BarrieToday. “This is just too important to not make sure this bill gets passed. On top of all the deputations that are rolling out, it hits the agenda in Toronto (Tuesday) night, so we’re excited about the momentum and this is just the start.”

The bill has three primary components, with one being that municipally elected officials would be accountable to the violence and harassment policies of the respective municipality, in line with the chief administrative officer. 

The second is for “egregious” acts of harassment substantiated by the municipality’s integrity commissioner (IC), councils could direct the IC to apply to the courts for removal and, finally, if removed, the person would be restricted from running again.

In March 2022, a bill was put forward by Ottawa-area MPP Stephen Blais to introduce legislation that would deter municipal councillors and board members from engaging in harassment by holding them accountable for their actions, including creating a process to remove them from office.

Despite the bill being on the table in the last provincial session, it was dropped when the Ontario election was called. Re-introduced last August, the Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act has yet to be passed.

In April 2022, Barrie city council endorsed the Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act.

McIntosh explained why the advocates haven’t approached this current council about the initiative. 

“We’re taking the former (Barrie) council’s word that they do endorse this. Because it is such a no-brainer piece of legislation, it was never meant to be controversial,” she said. “We almost have the full support of Simcoe County and we’re only waiting to deliver deputations in Tay and Innisfil.”

BarrieToday also asked McIntosh why she thinks the bill is taking so long to pass.

“I think that there is a level of protectionism happening, and it’s potentially under the guise of an argument of consistency,” she said. “One of the things we keep hearing from some politicians is the want to implement something very consistent and feeling like this might not be the answer, and that just isn’t a strong enough argument. We know that businesses in the province have different harassment policies, but that the principles are the same. This model works.”

A public event entitled ‘Flood the Floor’ is also planned for the bill’s second reading in the provincial legislature at Queen’s Park in Toronto on May 16.

For more information on Bill 5, click here.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: AHA Exec: ‘Workforce Is the Number One Concern for Hospitals … – HealthLeaders Media

The hospital association says it is focusing advocacy on workplace violence, Medicare residency slots, the nursing shortage, and workforce diversity.

Strengthening the healthcare workforce is one of the top priorities of the American Hospital Association’s advocacy agenda for 2023.

Health systems and hospitals are facing workforce shortages across the full spectrum of their employees. In addition to a well-recognized shortage of nurses nationwide, health systems and hospitals are struggling to fill openings among physicians, technicians, and other job positions.

The American Hospital Association recently released the organization’s 2023 advocacy agenda. In addition to strengthening the healthcare workforce, the AHA is targeting three other areas: ensuring access to care and providing financial relief; advancing quality, equity, and transformation; and enacting regulatory and administrative relief.

A pair of AHA executives spoke with HealthLeaders today about the organization’s focus on strengthening the healthcare workforce. “Workforce is the Number One concern for hospitals across the country,” says Priscilla Ross, executive director of executive branch relations and senior director of federal relations.

Addressing workplace violence

She says addressing workplace violence and intimidation is a key focal point for the AHA.

“Over the past few years and during the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of violent incidents at hospitals, particularly physical attacks on staff. It is demoralizing. It harms the quality of care because providers must spend time focusing on deflecting attacks and recovering from attacks, rather than focusing on patient care. It has become a big issue across the board. It is something we hear about from our hospitals on a consistent basis,” she says.

Workplace violence and intimidation is taking a heavy toll on staff members, Ross says. “In addition to being demoralizing, workplace violence makes staff fearful of dealing with patients. It is causing stress, burnout, and prompting staff to decide they do not want to practice in a hospital setting anymore.”

Increasing Medicare residency slots

The AHA is also focusing on increasing the number of residency slots eligible for Medicare funding to address physician shortages, she says.

“We have seen estimates that the physician shortage is going to reach 124,000 physicians within the next 10 years. That is going to jeopardize access to care in communities across our nation. The Medicare Graduate Medical Education program was created at Medicare’s inception in 1965 to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries had access to providers. Congress decided that the Medicare program would play a role in funding graduate medical education. Unfortunately, back in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Congress decided to freeze the number of Medicare-funded residency slots to about 90,000 slots,” Ross says.

The AHA has supported federal legislation that has been bipartisan and bicameral for several years that would add a significant number of Medicare-funded residency slots to the program, she says. “The most recent bill in the last Congress was the bipartisan Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act, which would have added 14,000 new residency slots over seven years. We need to have additional funding so that communities can have an adequate number of physicians.”

Tackling the nursing shortage

The AHA also plans to support measures that would help address the nursing shortage, says Akin Demehin, senior director of quality and patient safety. “The nursing shortage did not happen overnight. There have been structural shifts and demographic shifts in the nursing workforce. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, about half of nurses were age 50 and over, and about 30% were age 60 and over. So, just from that perspective, there was a need to replace the portion of the nursing workforce that was approaching retirement age. The pandemic served as a profound accelerant, with nurses facing wave after wave of COVID patients, experiencing increased incidences of violence, and many readying for the next phase of their lives in retirement.”

Several efforts can increase the nursing workforce, he says. “The first is investing in faculty for training nurses. Nursing faculty are in significant shortage, so much so that about 80,000 applicants to nursing schools who were qualified to attend nursing school had to be turned away, in large part because there were not enough faculty to train them. We have supported legislation to help address the faculty shortage—the Future Advancement of Academic Nursing Act.

There are also short-term actions targeting regulation that could bolster the nursing workforce, Demehin says.

“We need to look critically at the range of regulations that affect nursing workload and increase burden without necessarily adding value in terms of quality of care. There were some flexibilities granted during the pandemic’s public health emergency that were very helpful for the nursing workforce. For example, we would like to see changes to the discharge planning requirements that are administratively intense but are not necessarily leading to the better transitions in care that were the original intent. Another example is doing away with Medicare requirements around advanced practice nurses that are more restrictive than state laws—that could be a step forward in encouraging flexibility in the nursing workforce,” he says.

Boosting healthcare worker diversity

The AHA is also planning to support efforts to increase diversity in the healthcare workforce.

Ross says the AHA has been supporting federal legislation that would boost diversity in the physician workforce.

“In the last Congress, there was a part of the Build Back Better Act called Pathways to Practice that established 1,000 new fully funded medical school scholarships for medical school or post-baccalaureate studies for people who came from disadvantaged backgrounds, rural areas, were the first in their families to attend college, or graduates of historically black colleges and universities. In addition to tuition, Pathways to Practice provided a stipend for students. It would have taken great strides toward increasing diversity for those who find pursuing a medical career out of reach. It passed in the House, but it did not make it through the Senate,” she says.

The AHA is supporting work at the local level to promote diversity throughout the healthcare workforce, Demehin says. “What we hear from AHA members about their diversity work above and beyond the physician workforce is that the work takes place at the local level through partnerships with local schools and colleges to create linkages for those who are considering health professions as a career. Members are reaching out in intentional ways to diverse communities to encourage them to work in the healthcare field. Ultimately, improving diversity can help us take better care of the communities that we serve.”

Related: Top Clinical Leaders Share Solutions for Workforce Shortages

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Companies Canโ€”and Shouldโ€”Do More to Prevent Workplace … – Law.com

The alleged gunman who killed seven employees at two Half Moon Bay, California, mushroom farms was apparently distraught over a $100 repair bill he was required to pay for damaged equipment. The Jan. 23 shootings were just the latest in a spate of workplace violence episodes across the country.

Although no employer can completely eliminate the risk that an employee will commit violence at work, companies can implement compliant policies and procedures to minimize that risk. In the three decades since the term “going postal” entered the lexicon, workplace mass shootings have outpaced school shootings, but little attention has been focused on what employers can do in advance.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Elementary teachers union gathering information on school violence – CambridgeToday

A survey will be sent to all members of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario to gather information on the rise in school violence

A survey on workplace violence will be sent out by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario to all members as the union continues to address a rise in aggressive behaviours in schools.

It’s an issue that’s also being looked into locally within the Waterloo Region District School Board.

Board of trustees chair Joanne Weston put forth a motion at a Jan. 23 meeting asking staff to report back on how the board supports teachers who have shared stories of harassment on social media and other struggles they’ve faced in and out of the classroom.

“I’m hearing from staff, and much like other employers, that we could be doing a better job to support staff well-being at a time when many people are stressed,” Weston said at the meeting.

“I brought this motion forward because I would like to know how staff well-being, one of our strategic directions, is being supported across the system. I hope that by requesting a report that highlights what we’re doing and what we would need to do to create a staff well-being strategy, we can move forward with more support.”

The online survey being put on by the ETFO will run from Feb. 8 to March 8 with focus groups being held at the end of March.

“Violence against ETFO members remains a concerning, pervasive and growing issue,” Karen Brown, president of the ETFO said.

“Many school spaces are not safe, especially for those working on the front lines with students whose needs are not being met. We hope the data collected will finally convince the Ford government to take action to address the unacceptable and troubling rise of violence in schools.”

A similar survey was done by the ETFO in 2017 and showed that violence was a significant and growing problem in elementary schools.

The ETFO says that despite knowing the data that came out of the survey, the provincial government has failed to act accordingly to make school environments “physically and psychologically safe.”

More supports for special education are needed as it has not kept up with the need of those students, Brown says.

“At its core, this is a human rights issue,” she said.

“Without adequate funding of dedicated resources and supports for students who need them, violent incidents will continue to threaten safety, and compromise learning and working conditions.”

The survey is being conducted by Strategic Communications Inc. and results are anticipated in the spring of 2023.

The results will be used to raise awareness, advocate for change and develop resources and programs aimed at empowering ETFO members.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Healthcare workers implore lawmakers to enact staffing laws – American Federation of Teachers

Legislative sessions are going on across the country, and many of the AFT’s healthcare affiliates are ready to lobby their state legislators to take steps to fix the staffing shortage in hospitals. Nurses and health professionals have sounded the alarm about staffing shortages for years, warning that it puts them and their patients at risk. 

AFT photo

“We need state and federal legislation right now,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten during a Jan. 23 press conference held by AFT Connecticut to announce its support for proposals that would address unsafe staffing, establish safe patient limits and protect vital health services in the state. “If you help us, we will be able to help patients more,” Weingarten said. “People who go into healthcare want to make a difference in the lives of others. Help us do it. Don’t let us deal with the dangerous conditions that are getting worse.”

Crystal Badeau, a patient care technician at Windham Hospital and a member of AFT Connecticut, asked lawmakers to listen to healthcare workers and make hospitals safer. “I love what I do and couldn’t imagine doing anything else,” said Badeau. “All we want to do is make sure our patients are safe.”

“I’m tired of seeing a profession that I love destroyed. We feel defeated. We feel like failures. We signed up to make people better,” said Sherri Dayton, an emergency room nurse at Backus Hospital and president of the Backus Federation of Nurses. “When we can’t do that, it causes us moral injury.” Dayton, also a member of AFT Connecticut, asked lawmakers to think about the risk of not passing legislation to address staffing. “We will continue to lose health professionals; your communities will continue to have poor outcomes. Help make this profession that I love better.”

For years the AFT’s nurses and health professionals have protested with informational pickets and have gone on strike or threatened strikes because their hospitals lacked adequate staffing. They have demanded change because chronic understaffing harms both patients and workers and makes it harder to recruit and retain workers, with many leaving the profession. They are not alone: Earlier this year, thousands of nurses in New York went on strike to demand safer standards. And in the United Kingdom, where hospitals in the National Health System are also experiencing shortages, healthcare workers represented by the Royal College of Nursing and UNISON, the UK’s largest union, are holding strike actions to demand pay raises and improved working conditions. In letters to both unions, the AFT has pledged solidarity with their members.

WSNA photo

A recent AFT report on healthcare staffing shortages found workers were routinely exposed to increasing levels of workplace violence, and patient loads were stretched to unprecedented and unsafe levels. The result for workers is an overall sense of exhaustion, moral injury and distress at the demands of their job—a job they love doing but say they cannot continue without more support from their employers. That’s why AFT healthcare members in Alaska, Connecticut, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon and Washington are urging state legislators to pass laws to solve staffing issues.

In Washington, a coalition of healthcare workers that includes members of the Washington State Nurses Association relaunched a campaign to urge state legislators to pass safe staffing standards for hospitals to address the state’s worsening staffing crisis. The WA Safe + Healthy campaign was created a year ago to pass safe staffing legislation that would protect any nurse or healthcare worker from being assigned too many patients at a time and ensure that hospitals hire enough staff to ensure patient and worker safety.

Kelli Johnson, a nurse at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Wash., testified in support of legislation last year and hoped it would pass. It did not, and staffing got worse, said Johnson, a WSNA member. “The shortage is not nurses; the shortage is safe work environments. No amount of money can keep nurses from repeatedly experiencing moral injury and burnout.”

ONA photo

The Oregon Nurses Association will continue to support the work of its Safe Staffing Saves Lives campaign—a statewide campaign to support new legislation ONA is proposing that will address healthcare staffing. It is calling on the Oregon Legislature to mandate minimum staffing requirements for hospital nurses and close loopholes around meal and break times.

“Nurses are overwhelmed; they are not able to take rest or meal breaks. Waiting times for treatment grow longer, patients become more frustrated and workplace violence increases,” said Matt Calzia, ONA’s director of nursing practice and professional development. “Nurses grow more exhausted and stressed, and as their mental health suffers, they experience profound moral injuries. Hospitals exploit the pandemic by arbitrarily declaring “crisis” staffing and refusing to follow staffing laws, and state agencies refuse to enforce the laws, which allow unsafe staffing conditions to fester.”

Meanwhile, the AFT is highlighting its 2022 “Healthcare Staffing Shortage Task Force Report,” which includes several proven strategies and a road map to address the crisis at every level—national, state, sector and facility. “We need to have protections,” said Weingarten, noting that most healthcare systems will not do the right thing when it comes to staffing. “We need legislation to force them to do the right thing.”

[Adrienne Coles]

Source: Ross Arrowsmith