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Standing in Solidarity with WPIC, Working for Safer Hospitals

PITTSBURGH, PA – Neal Bisno, President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the union representing 200 registered nurses, clerks, housekeepers and other employees at UPMC Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, released the following statement about yesterday’s shooting:

“Yesterday was a tragic day for Pittsburgh and for healthcare workers. Our prayers and thoughts are with all of the victims, their families, and the WPIC community.  We congratulate the police, emergency responders, and the entire WPIC team on their bravery and heroism in responding to yesterday’s harrowing events.

“This violent assault is a stark reminder of the danger that healthcare workers can face at work. For each fatality, that there are literally thousands of non-fatal assaults perpetrated on our nation’s healthcare workforce. The health care sector has one of the highest incidences of nonfatal workplace attacks. The rate for behavioral health workers is even higher. We must do everything possible to protect those that care for us.

“A 2005 Bureau of Labor Statistics survey showed that almost 28% of healthcare and social assistance employers reported an incident of workplace violence in the previous year.  For large employers like UPMC, almost 86% reported a violent incident.

“We call for a full investigation to be conducted into this incident and for measures to be put into place to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.  We are ready to partner with UPMC management to initiate a comprehensive review of workplace violence hazards and health and safety precautions at WPIC and other UPMC facilities. It is critical that this review be a joint effort of frontline healthcare workers, security staff, and management.

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