Gawronsky Calls for Improved Safety Measures at EIA Office Following Second Assault this Month
Jan 25, 2019
Another violent attack on a Manitoba Protective Services officer at a Winnipeg Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) office has MGEU President, Michelle Gawronsky, calling on the government to improve security measures in the workplace.
The attack happened this past Tuesday when a woman, who was being escorted out of the building, reportedly pulled a fire alarm and stabbed a protective services officer with a pen several times, breaking the officer’s skin. The officer was not seriously injured and was treated on the scene, but Gawronsky says it’s time for the government to put in place added security precautions and expedite the process.
"This is unfortunately just an example of what our members are dealing with every day. Everyone working in these offices is worried for their safety and the safety of their coworkers. They need additional protection and, as I’ve said before, our union has told the government we will work with them in any way we can to ensure that these frontline workers are safe in their workplaces."
This latest incident follows a January 14 stabbing of another protective services officer at the same location, which sent the officer to hospital with serious wounds. The officer has since returned home to recover.
Following that attack, the government says they have temporarily increased the number of protective services officers, while they conduct a review.
But members at the EIA office in question say violent incidents have been on the rise for several months, in large part due to the methamphetamine crisis and the government’s decision to consolidate social assistance services to the Rorie Street location. Members have reported weapons, used needles discarded in the workplace bathroom, death threats, stalking of staff, and abuse directed at staff, but say their requests for safety improvements have been largely ignored by the employer.“No one should feel unsafe at work. We are calling on the government to review the safety measures currently in place and provide physical design improvements to the workplace, while enhancing training opportunities for officers," said Gawronsky.