The recent death of a High Desert Registered Nurse and suicide attempt by an LAC+USC healthcare worker and shop steward was the impetus for 721 members at DHS facilities to rally together and mount the pressure on the County to tackle the growing on-the-job bullying issue. One by one Social Workers, Medical Case Workers, Surgical Technicians, Physical Therapy Aid, Licensed Vocational Nurses, Registered Nurses, and Nurse Practitioners shared with Dr. Katz their alarming stories of overt bullying and silent retaliation at the hands of managers.
The stories of growing verbal abuse, and in some cases physical abuse, brought many in the room to tears with many raising their “Not One More” placards in the air to show their solidarity and resolve to continue working to bring much needed reforms.
The demands 721 members made are very clear. They pressed Dr. Mitch Katz to launch an immediate investigation of the perpetrators to discipline them, and the termination of the most egregious offenders. In addition, they recommended the County provide more training for managers to give them the tools to avoid any future violations, and they urged Dr. Katz to work with 721 to develop a robust anti-bullying program that includes an unbiased reporting process.
LAC + USC RN Robin Ellis made it very clear the group is prepared to go outside the local’s halls to make sure their voices are heard to bring the much needed reform to ensure a safe and just workplace environment. From the tone of the meeting and the response of Dr. Katz, members have found an ally in the DHS Chief. An empathetic Dr. Katz pledged to take immediate action and investigate the situation, and provide a report back to members in 30 days on corrective actions.
The time is now to stay united and support each other in breaking the silence and taking action. We are stronger together and our member voices will be heard and will ensure every County worker has the opportunity to thrive in a safe workplace, and the general public receives the best care possible.