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Shea-Porter Cleans Up at NH1 Debate; Guinta Runs From Extreme Record

Carol Shea Porter - Frank Guinta

CONCORD—Carol Shea-Porter emerged the clear winner at tonight’s NH1 debate, discussing the work she is doing to create jobs around the District, including the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and offering solutions for middle class families that left Frank Guinta fumbling to defend his extreme Tea Party record.

“While Carol highlighted her work for New Hampshire’s middle class, Frank Guinta refused to explain his anti-middle-class budgets that would hurt seniors, came out in opposition to our state’s bipartisan Medicaid expansion, and wouldn’t tell voters why he voted against Planned Parenthood and why he opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother,” said Shea-Porter spokeswoman Marjorie Connolly. “First District voters have a clear choice on November 4th between Tea Partier Frank Guinta and Carol Shea-Porter, who’s working for the ‘Rest of Us.’”

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley released the following statement after tonight’s New Hampshire 1st Congressional debate:

“Tonight’s debate featured Tea Party former congressman Frank Guinta reiterate his extreme Koch Brothers agenda that includes cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans and big oil companies at the expense of middle-class families, cutting Social Security and privatizing Medicare, and opposing a woman’s right to choose even to save the life of the mother.”

“Granite State voters will reject Frank Guinta’s out-of-touch Tea Party views and his mystery-money scandals, and continue to support Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter’s proven record of standing up for middle-class priorities and supporting economic growth here in New Hampshire.”

Garcia Says the Violence Against Women Act is “Only a Catchy Title” and “Not Smart Spending”

Marilinda Garcia (Gage Skidmore CC FLIKR)

Concord, NH – Last night during a live NH1 debate, Tea Party candidate Marilinda Garcia doubled-down on her opposition to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), calling it “only a catchy title” and “not smart spending”.

“For 20 years, the Violence Against Women Act has enjoyed strong bipartisan support from both Republicans and Democrats alike, and it has helped our community make huge strides in the fight to eradicate domestic violence, provide necessary support to victims, and put perpetrators behind bars,” said Kuster campaign spokeswoman Rosie Hilmer. “The fact that Marilinda Garcia would actually say that ‘just because this law has a catchy title, doesn’t make it a great law’ is incredibly insulting to the thousands of Granite Staters this law has helped over the past 20 years, and her assertion that providing support for victims of domestic violence is ‘not smart spending’ is truly egregious. This shows that Garcia will stop at nothing to enact her extreme, Tea Party agenda – to the detriment of our Granite State families.”

Congresswoman Annie Kuster is an advocate for New Hampshire women and their families, and she’s proud to join both her Republican and Democratic colleagues in the House in supporting the Violence Against Women Act.

AFT and National Nurses United Praise New CDC Ebola Guidelines For Healthcare Workers

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CDC-logo-4inch

Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new Ebola guidance for U.S. healthcare workers.  AFT and National Nurses United have been pushing for more restrictive guidance to protect the millions of healthcare providers in the US.

After the news broke AFT President Randi Weingarten released the following statement:

“At hospitals throughout our nation, nurses and healthcare professionals are doing everything they can to be ready to care for whoever comes through their doors. The CDC’s new guidance for healthcare workers and the positive actions taken by the Obama administration fall directly in line with what our members called for last week: infection-control protocols and worker-preparedness plans; dedicated, specially trained teams of willing staff; and the proper equipment for nurses and healthcare professionals working in America’s hospitals.

As the second-largest nurses union in the United States, the AFT is working to keep our communities safe and healthy. That is why we are calling on the CDC to issue additional Ebola guidance for non-hospital healthcare settings and expanded guidance to guarantee wages and benefits for quarantined healthcare workers—so workers won’t have to choose between safety and living expenses. And we renew our call for hospitals to incorporate the voices of nurses and healthcare workers in the development and implementation of Ebola protocols.

We look forward to being a partner with the CDC to expand and improve guidance on Ebola or any other health issues facing America.”

The National Nurses United released the following:

National Nurses United today welcomed the call in the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for “rigorous and repeated training” for nurses and other health workers responding to the Ebola virus as NNU has been urging for two months, but said some substantial questions and concerns remain.

“It is clear from the abrupt change in position of the CDC in some areas that the registered nurses have moved the country and the CDC as the nurses champion protection for their patients and articulate the vulnerabilities for themselves. Nevertheless, the optimal standards should be in place tomorrow and, regrettably, they will not be,” said NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro.

With still significant questions regarding the most effective personal protective equipment, and the ongoing lack of any mandate on the hospitals to comply with the highest standards and protocols, “it is clear that nurses are going to have to continue to fight every step of the way to demand that every patient, every nurse, every frontline healthcare worker has the protection they need,” DeMoro said.

“The governing theme must be the precautionary principle, the highest safety standards in the face of this virulent disease, so that no nurses, other frontline health workers, or patients have to put their lives in jeopardy,” DeMoro said.

DeMoro noted that the call for continuous training, especially in group sessions with everyone practicing putting on and taking off the protective equipment, echoes a key demand of nurses.

“Most hospitals continue to fall far short of that standard,” she said. A national NNU survey, which now has nearly 3,000 responses from nurses in over 1,000 facilities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia found that 84 percent of nurses say their hospital has not provided education on Ebola with the ability for nurses to interact and ask questions.

Second, DeMoro called the guideline that any protective equipment leave ‘no skin exposed,’ a “direct testament to the courage of Briana Aguirre,”  the Texas Presbyterian Hospital RN who “made the incredibly brave decision” to publicly disclose that the suits at her Dallas hospital left exposed the necks and other skin of nurses who cared for Ebola-infected patients.

“Briana will be remembered as the Karen Silkwood of our time,” DeMoro said.  The gap in the suits was also revealed in a statement from Aguirre and other Dallas RNs released by NNU last week.

However, the CDC guidelines remain unclear on the most effective protective equipment, and, significantly, have their own gaping hole in the option offered to hospitals to select which protective equipment to use “based on availability” and other factors.

DeMoro called that loophole “an open invitation for hospitals to choose the cheapest protective equipment that will continue to put nurses and other health workers at considerable risk. Years of experience with our private hospital industry have demonstrated that far too many hospitals routinely put their budget goals and profit margins ahead of public safety, including in access to protective equipment.”

“We are contacting the CDC for specifics on the proper protective equipment and whether it meets the precautionary principle and the highest standard, in particular, full body coverage that prevents any blood or viral penetration,” DeMoro said.

Finally, she noted, “CDC readily admits it is not a regulatory agency. It has no authority to compel hospitals to comply with any guidelines.

“That is why we will continue to insist that Congress and the White House should mandate all hospitals meet the optimal uniform, national standards and protocols in order to safely protect patients, all healthcare workers and the public,” DeMoro said.

The public is invited to join that call by signing an NNU petition online at:

http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/page/s/national-nurses-united-urges-you-to-take-action-now?utm_source=nnu&utm_medium=btn&utm_campaign=petition

Strike Against FairPoint Continues as Nor’easter Approaches

FairPoint Communications

Fairness at Fairpoint Banner

Strikers fear replacement workers can’t handle complications of looming storm

Manchester, NH—Tuesday marks the fifth day of a strike against FairPoint Communications by nearly 2,000 members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The strike began last Friday after FairPoint walked out of negotiations and unilaterally imposed contract terms that cut retiree health care, froze pensions, and increased health care costs.

Hundreds of FairPoint employees continue to picket 12 hours a day at dozens of sites across Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. They have been joined by supporters from other unions in the region and by elected leaders, including New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan.

With the arrival of the season’s first nor’easter this week, experienced technicians are expressing concern that FairPoint’s replacement workers will be unable to handle the challenges that come with high winds and heavy rain.

Steve Soule, a Manchester, New Hampshire, service technician who has been on the job for 17 years, explains, “Normally, with a storm like this, me and my fellow techs would be preparing generators and staging our materials to respond to weather-related outages. We would be preparing for possible flooding which can knock out systems that provide 911 and other essential communications. I’m concerned that FairPoint doesn’t have enough staff with the expertise to deal with a widespread service interruption.”

Soule went on to talk about the local knowledge that’s vital to keeping people connected and the public safe. “Because many of us have been working in these communities for decades, we know where the vulnerabilities are. We know where back-up batteries might be weak and where phone and DSL lines are most likely to go down,” said Soule. “Some inexperienced replacement worker from out-of-state couldn’t possibly anticipate those problems. I worry that if this storm is as bad as some of the nor’easters we’ve experienced in the recent past, our communities could see lengthy service interruptions made longer because of this replacement workforce. It’s not just about convenience, it’s about public safety.”

Workers on the picket lines stress that they are on the same side as their customers. They want Northern New England to have the best possible phone and Internet service. To provide 21st-century technology to businesses, schools, and families requires well-trained, experienced, local workers who know the system.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) System Council T9 includes local unions in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont and represents nearly 1,700 employees at FairPoint Communications. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1400 represents nearly 300 FairPoint employees in the three states. For more information, visit www.fairnessatfairpoint.com.

Daniel Weeks Speaks At Rivier University About Poverty And Democracy (10-21-14)

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Screen shot 2014-10-21 at 6.48.34 AMNH Reformer Addresses Rivier University About Poverty And Democracy After Visiting 30 States By Greyhound Bus On $16/Day

Daniel Weeks’ Atlantic and UNH publications based on poverty-line research across USA

NASHUA, NH – To understand poverty and its complex relationship to American democracy, New Hampshire political reformer Daniel Weeks traveled some 10,000 miles through 30 states by Greyhound bus interviewing citizens in poverty and maintaining a poverty-line budget of $16 per day. On Tuesday, Oct. 21 at 4pm, Weeks will present his findings at Rivier University’s Benoit Educational Center in a public lecture (details here).

Weeks completed his research as a fellow of the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and with support from the Carsey School of Public Policy at UNH. His research was published as a 2014 series for The Atlantic, in Business NH Magazine, and featured on NHPR’s “The Exchange” and other programs.

The “Poor (in) Democracy” project explores the complex relationship between institutional poverty and political power, including how economic inequalities enter the political sphere and undermine political equality; how political arrangements deepen and entrench poverty; and what it means in real life to be poor and (seek to) participate in democratic life. The work concludes with a menu of cross-partisan governmental reforms aimed at combatting poverty by strengthening American democracy.

In an effort to deepen his experience of American poverty, Weeks maintained a poverty-line budget, eating a restricted diet and spending nights in public parks and homeless shelters, on buses or bus stations, and in home-stays over his six weeks on the road. From benches on Capitol Hill to the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, from the desert colonias of New Mexico to Skid Row in L.A., Weeks’ profiles and careful analysis help put a human face on poverty and political inequality in the age of Obama.

Since completing his travels, Weeks now serves as Executive Director of Open Democracy, a nonpartisan nonprofit working to reduce the influence of private money in politics and expand political voice and participation for under-represented people in New Hampshire.

For more information, please visit: www.PoorInDemocracy.org.

Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association Endorse Maggie Hassan

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DSC_0236Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association Endorses Governor Maggie Hassan for Her Record of Supporting Public Safety in the Queen City

Fourth Public Safety Organization to Endorse Governor Hassan for Re-Election

Manchester—Praising her strong leadership and record of fighting for the priorities that help keep New Hampshire’s largest city safe, the Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association endorsed Maggie Hassan for re-election.

“Governor Hassan’s strong leadership and proven record of protecting our communities make her the clear choice on public safety in this election,” said MPPA President Ken Chamberlain. “We are proud to endorse Governor Hassan for re-election and know that she will always work to bring DSC_0229together members of both parties to get things done to strengthen public safety and ensure that our law enforcement officials have the support we need to protect the people of Manchester.”

“It’s a tremendous honor to have earned the support of the Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association again this year as we work to keep Manchester safe and solve problems the New Hampshire Way,” said Governor Hassan. “Maintaining the safety of our communities and citizens is the most important job of state government, and through our bipartisan budget, we’ve made critical investments in protecting our communities, without a sales or income tax. We maintained drug task force teams, funded the cold case unit, restored the CHINS program, and through our bipartisan health care expansion plan, thousands of people will have access to substance and alcohol treatment coverage for the first time.”

“But my opponent is pushing a so-called ‘plan’ that’s straight out of the Bill O’Brien playbook and would blow a $90 million hole in our state budget, placing critical investments in public safety at risk. We have come too far to let my opponent take us backward, and together we’ll continue to keep New Hampshire safe and move our state in the right direction,” added Governor Hassan.

Through her bipartisan budget, Governor Hassan fought to protect critical investments in public safety – without a sales or income tax. The Governor restored the CHINS program, invested in drug task force teams, funded the cold case unit, and launched Media Power Youth, a public-private initiative to increase media literacy and reduce and prevent youth violence.

The Governor also worked across party lines to strengthen community-based mental health services and pass a bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan that is providing coverage for mental health and substance use treatment to thousands of hard-working Granite Staters, strengthening the safety and well being of our communities.

The MPPA is the fourth public safety organization to endorse Governor Hassan for re-election, joining the New Hampshire Troopers’ Association, Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, and the New Hampshire Police Association.

New Hampshire Can’t Afford Scott Brown’s Energy Policies, Shaheen Releases New Web Ad

Image from NextGen Climate NH
Image from NextGen Climate NH

Image from NextGen Climate NH

Brown’s Energy Agenda: Billions in Subsidies for Big Oil Billionaires, Fewer Jobs and Higher Costs for New Hampshire

Manchester — With just weeks until the November election, the Shaheen campaign is releasing a new report that highlights how New Hampshire can’t afford Scott Brown’s energy agenda. Brown’s agenda would benefit big oil and gas, an industry that has funded his campaign while he voted to protect billions of dollars in tax breaks, but would result in higher costs for New Hampshire consumers and fewer jobs.

“Scott Brown’s energy agenda is wrong for New Hampshire. Brown’s policies would mean fewer jobs and higher costs for New Hampshire consumers while his Big Oil supporters continue to reap record profits supported by billion dollar subsidies that he has repeatedly voted to protect,” said Harrell Kirstein, Shaheen Campaign Communications Director.

Brown’s energy agenda includes:

  • Increasing natural gas exports, which will result in higher energy prices for consumers and employers.
  • Cuts to LIHEAP, the Low Income Heating Assistance Program, which allows tens of thousands of New Hampshire households to heat their homes.
  • Opposition to the bipartisan Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill that would have saved billions, created jobs, and lowered pollution.
  • Denying the existence of man-made climate change, even though New Hampshire is already seeing the consequences.
  • Supporting billions in tax breaks for Big Oil – the same industry who has given nearly half a million dollars to fund his campaigns.

“Brown’s agenda is just further proof that he is out for the big oil and gas companies at the expense of people across the state,” added Kirstein.

To read the Shaheen campaign’s report, click here 

Today, the Shaheen campaign is releasing a new ad highlighting how Scott Brown gave billions in special breaks to Big Oil, Wall Street and companies that send American jobs overseas, hurting people in New Hampshire. The ad follows a report the campaign released this morning that details how Scott Brown’s energy agenda would increase energy costs for New Hampshire consumers and cost American jobs.

“Scott Brown’s votes to protect the big oil and corporate interests that fund his campaigns and line his pockets are hurting people here in New Hampshire,” said Shaheen Campaign Communications Director Harrell Kirstein.  “Brown gives billions to Big Oil, Wall Street, and outsourcers while people in New Hampshire need help.”

In Massachusetts, Scott Brown voted to protect billions in special tax breaks for Big Oil companies, who have donated nearly a half million dollars to his campaigns and have spent $2.6 million supporting Brown’s run in New Hampshire.  Brown also worked to weaken Wall Street reforms and save the big banks $19 billion. He even voted for tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas and against bipartisan tax cuts for small businesses.

Since losing in Massachusetts, Brown collected more than a quarter million dollars as a board member of a company that outsourced jobs. Brown signed official documents endorsing the company’s outsourcing strategy. Those documents were dated just two days before Brown became a Senate candidate in New Hampshire.

“Is Scott Brown really for New Hampshire now?” asks the ad. “Scott Brown has changed his address but he is still working for the big guys, not New Hampshire.”

Jeanne Shaheen has always put families and businesses here in New Hampshire first. She led the fight to pass the bipartisan Small Business Jobs Act, which cut taxes for small businesses, increased business’ access to credit, and helped New Hampshire companies export their products overseas. The bill has helped countless New Hampshire businesses expand and create new jobs but as a Senator from Massachusetts Scott Brown voted against it.

AFT Announces Winners of 2014 Prize for Solution-Driven Unionism

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WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers announced today the winners of its second annual Prize for Solution-Driven Unionism, a competition among AFT state and local affiliates to shine a light on innovative, inspiring and collaborative solutions to tough problems.

Two first-place prizes were awarded: Milwaukee Area Technical Federation, AFT Local 212, won for its solution to lagging graduation and course completion rates, while the other prize will be shared by the United University Professions and the New York State Public Employees Federation for their successful campaign to save Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., from privatization and to promote investment in the facility and actually expand healthcare in Brooklyn. The AFT’s Prize for Solution-Driven Unionism—which was created in partnership with the Albert Shanker Institute and the AFT Innovation Fund—comes with $25,000 for each of the two winners.

“These unions thought outside the box and worked with community partners to come up with innovative, and ultimately successful, solutions to seemingly intractable problems,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “Solution-driven unionism is about fighting for ideas that help the people we serve and that help our communities thrive.”

AFT Local 212 and Milwaukee Area Technical College:
Working Together to Enhance District and Community Engagement

Milwaukee Area Technical College’s graduation rate had been under 50 percent, and its course completion rate at about 65 percent, when members of the Milwaukee Area Technical Federation, Local 212, developed a program to enhance student and teacher engagement in the learning process as a means to improve student completion. Among other successful solutions over the past several years, the program created more ways for students to engage with faculty and community. The Center for Engaged and Service Learning, for example, provides many opportunities for students to do service work in the community.

From 2008-2011, MATC had an increase of 378 graduates, to 2,394 students, and is on schedule to graduate 3,900 by the year 2020. The overall course completion rate (defined as the percent of students completing a course with a C or better) rose between 2009 and 2012, with the most significant improvement for courses in the 200-level transfer courses.

MATC President Vicki Martin praised union-management collaboration, noting the expansion and impact of engaged and service learning as a way to enhance student success. “Results show that this work is a shining example of how great things can be achieved when we work together for the common good of students and the community that we serve,” Martin said.

The Campaign to Save Downstate Medical Center

For more than two years, members of the United University Professions and the New York State Public Employees Federation worked to keep the State University of New York’s University Hospital at Downstate Medical Center from being privatized. University Hospital is the state-run teaching hospital connected to Downstate’s medical school and treats nearly 400,000 patients each year, regardless of patients’ ability to pay. Privatization threatened the healthcare safety net for an extremely poor and diverse population, along with the jobs of 3,000 people represented by the United University Professions.

UUP and PEF realized that the fight to solve the problem of healthcare in Brooklyn required a strong alliance with patients, medical students, parents, alumni, faith and business groups, and other unions and community allies. As a result, they created the Coalition of Faith, Labor and Community Leaders, which organized mass rallies, legislative meetings, community forums and a media campaign.

The unions also devised the “Brooklyn Hospitals Safety Net Plan,” which called for developing decentralized, comprehensive ambulatory care centers staffed by retrained personnel from the inpatient services of Downstate and 14 other Brooklyn hospitals. These outpatient centers would serve about a half-million underserved, underinsured or uninsured Brooklyn residents and are intended to be a national model for training medical residents in comprehensive ambulatory care. Funding could well be secured from a Medicaid waiver, and the unions will be helping to oversee the plan’s implementation.

Downstate Medical Center remains a public, full-service hospital for the residents of central Brooklyn. SUNY Downstate, including the medical school, remains viable. While approximately 65 positions were cut, the campaign was successful in preventing even greater job losses and maintaining access to healthcare for all who need it.

“UUP and PEF were instrumental in creating a community effort to ensure that those who have the least continue to have access to high-quality healthcare in their neighborhood. This was a monumental, but ultimately successful, effort by the unions and their indefatigable community partners,” Weingarten said.

This is the AFT’s second annual Prize for Solution-Driven Unionism. The 2013 winners were the New York Performance Standards Consortium—39 diverse New York state public high schools that received waivers from four of the state’s five standardized exams to emphasize project-based instruction—and AFT Connecticut, for its cost-saving Health Enhancement Program.

Governor Hassan Highlights the Clear Choice on Expanding Opportunity and Building a Stronger Workforce at NHTI in Concord

Maggie Hassan

The Governor Restored Funding that Allowed Community Colleges to Reduce Tuition, Havenstein Would Take Us Back to the Bill O’Brien Cuts that Undermined Higher Education

CONCORD—Governor Maggie Hassan visited NHTI, Concord’s Community College, to highlight the clear choice between her bipartisan leadership to expand opportunity and build a stronger workforce, and failed CEO Walt Havenstein’s Koch agenda that would take the state back to the Bill O’Brien cuts that undermined higher education and critical economic priorities.

The Governor was joined by State Senate candidate Dan Feltes and ClassCo Co-Founder and President David Luneau, to highlight her work to restore funding for higher education that allowed community colleges to reduce tuition. ClassCo is a technology, product design and development, and marketing company focused on the needs of the public safety and telecommunications communities.

“As the founder of a high-tech company right here in Concord, I know firsthand the importance of a strong workforce,” said ClassCo Co-Founder and President David Luneau. “My business relies on people being able to afford tuition so they can develop the skills and innovative thinking they need to succeed in the 21st century economy. Governor Hassan understands the needs of small businesses like mine, and that’s why she made freezing college tuition such a key priority.”

“It’s great to be at NHTI as we discuss our efforts to expand opportunity and build a stronger workforce that can fill the jobs that our innovative businesses are creating here in New Hampshire,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “Our community colleges are developing innovative programs to provide our citizens with the skills they need to secure high-quality jobs, and that’s why I fought to restore funding that allowed our community colleges to reduce tuition. But my opponent’s Koch Brothers agenda and fiscally irresponsible ‘plan’ could make costs rise again at our community colleges, reversing our efforts to strengthen our workforce and putting a strain on students and families.”

Governor Hassan is fighting to expand opportunity and build a stronger workforce by freezing in-state tuition at our universities and reducing tuition at community colleges, working to modernize STEM education in our public schools, and promoting innovative options for higher education across the state.

Walt Havenstein, on the other hand, is pushing a Koch Brothers “plan” that would blow a $90 million hole in our budget, taking us back to the devastating Bill O’Brien cuts that undermined higher education and critical economic priorities.

Ebola Outbreak Shows Need for Stronger Protection for Health Care Workers, Says National Safety Group

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With OSHA unable to inspect all hospitals, workers must have a voice in addressing workplace hazards

NY Committee for Occupational Safety and Health
Has Fact Sheets for workers facing Ebola risks 

Longmeadow, MA:  Reports that a second Dallas hospital worker has been infected with the Ebola virus show the need for stronger and more comprehensive on-the-job protections for health care workers, says the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH).

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Nina Pham, Amber Vinson and their families,” said National COSH executive director Mary Vogel.  “We’re also thinking of all the health care workers across America who are exposed, every day, to serious risks to their own health and safety.”

“The Ebola virus can be fatal – and so can many other hazards faced by health care workers,” said Vogel.  To ensure a safe working environment, “health care employers must implement comprehensive workplace health and safety programs.”

That means workers receive adequate training, access to the right protective equipment – and most important, a voice in developing workplace standards so hazards can be prevented before workers are harmed.  Workers must also be protected from retaliation, Vogel said, when reporting hazardous conditions and violations of safety standards.

The New York Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), an affiliate of National COSH, has a fact sheet available for any workers at risk of exposure to the Ebola virus, and a specific fact sheet for aircraft cabin cleaners and cargo handlers.

According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the health care and social assistance industry reported more than 653,900 on-the-job injuries and illnesses in 2010, the highest for any private sector industry in the United States. By comparison, workers in the manufacturing sector reported slightly over 500,000 injuries and illnesses that same year – 152,000 fewer than health care workers.

“It’s a common assumption that a hospital or clinic must be a safe place to work, but the fact is that health care is a hazardous occupation,” said Vogel. “Every day, while taking care of others, health care workers face serious risks to their own health and safety.”  Just a few of the many problems they face, said Vogel, include contamination from infectious disease; exposure to radiation and hazardous chemicals; sticks from needles and other sharp objects; repetitive strain injuries from heavy lifting; and the threat of workplace violence.

Despite the known hazards associated with working in health care, U.S. OSHA inspected just 138 out of thousands of U.S. hospitals in FY 2011.  State safety agencies inspected an additional 233 hospitals.

“OSHA has just one inspector for every 66,000 covered employees in seven million workplaces,” said Vogel.  “Certainly, the agency needs more person power and stronger enforcement authority.  But in health care and other settings, the surest way to limit workplace hazards is for workers themselves to have a strong voice in setting – and enforcing – workplace standards.”

  

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health is a federation of local and statewide organizations; a private, non-profit coalition of labor unions, health and technical professionals, and others interested in promoting and advocating for worker health and safety.

To learn more about the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, visit: http://www.coshnetwork.org

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