NVAA 2000 Text

Chapter 22 Supplement Special Topics

Section 5, Workplace Violence

Statistical Overview

Significant Research

One of the most significant outcomes of research into unions and the prevention of workplace violence was the discovery of the relative absence of violence prevention provisions in union contracts. An article in Compensation and Working Conditions, Fall 1999, discussed research that indicates that unions could make important contributions to prevent workplace violence. In most labor agreements, unions and management are already committed to a safe work environment. While research shows that unions and management generally negotiate clauses on subjects affecting the health and safety of the employees, there is little known cooperation on the subject of workplace violence (Gray, Myers, and Myers Fall 1999, 5-12).

Researchers collected data in their examination of workplace violence provisions in private sector collective bargaining agreements from 1,168 contracts covering 5.2 million employees filed with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only 14 of the 1,168 contracts reviewed by the researchers had provisions on workplace violence, covering only 1.5 percent of the workforce (Ibid).

Furthermore, the industry data showed that while a high percentage of workplace homicides occur in the retail trades, only one out of 110 retail contracts had a single provision on workplace violence. In the healthcare industry, where 44 percent of all nonfatal assaults occur, only five out of thirty-five contracts had at least one clause that dealt with workplace violence. Of the fourteen contracts that dealt with workplace violence, fewer than five aspects of the problem were covered and only one contract had a violence response provision (Ibid).

Researchers surmised that workplace violence prevention strategies are possibly dealt with in the context of management rules of conduct, and considered a management right, but the lack of coverage in the contract language clearly reflected a limited use of collective bargaining in preventing and controlling workplace violence. Union negotiators should make workplace violence a top priority, as has been done by corporate security directors and human resource professionals who represent the companies with whom they negotiate (Ibid).

Promising Practices

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2000 NVAA Text
Chapter 22.5
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