SEIU stands in solidarity with janitors and building maintenance workers who have shown the courage to speak out against their ongoing abuse at the hands of coworkers, supervisors, and managers. We’re helping to eradicate workplace harassment and abusive behavior toward an extremely vulnerable population with legislation introduced by State Assembly Member Gonzales and his team of coauthors. Undocumented/low wage labor is prevalent and among the most vulnerable in our building/property services workers. These men and women are frequently targeted for harassment, exploitation, and assault (sexual and otherwise). Especially vulnerable to attack during night-shift hours in office buildings, private practice commercial buildings and otherwise unsupervised locations. Victims are subjected to unthinkable indignities and have little voice or recourse, their attackers knowing this often use paycheck manipulation other extortion like threats in order to keep their victims from speaking out.
We and SEIU Nurse Alliance of California add our voices of support for AB1978 which essentially requires employers, supervisors and managers to educate themselves on this issue and demonstrate preventative effort. According to the California Legislative Information website this Assembly Bill is an important effort to “…establish specific standards and protections for property service workers…” as spelled out in the legislative council’s digest section of the website at: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB1978
Nurses in their daily practice, have unique access to victims of abuse and can help expose the perpetrators of workplace abuse by remaining on the lookout for bruises, suspicious bleeding and other signs of bodily harm that isn’t consistent with a patient’s story of how such injuries were inflicted. Patient advocacy goes deeper than just treating an injury. Information gathered at the point of treatment can empower nurses to support the justice process. Legislation such as AB1978 provides a framework for empowering people to assert their rights and access to justice in the workplace.