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Latest News - March 2014

March 13, 2014
Behavioral Health Resources union members plan strike
Source: KBKW
By: Dave Haviland

Behavioral Health Resources says after talks failed yesterday with their union, members of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW will strike beginning Friday, March 14 at 8 a.m. through Monday, March 17 at 7:59 a.m.

A press release on the Union’s website stated: Non-profit 501c3 Olympia based Behavioral Health Resources (BHR) tonight announces disappointment in a lack of contract settlement with SEIU Healthcare 1199NW. Our mental health agency had hoped to avert a strike scheduled to begin on Friday, March 14th at 8:00 AM and run through Monday, March 17th at 7:59 AM . SEIU’s collective bargaining agreement expired April 1, 2013 and since then, the two parties have been negotiating in good faith. In recent months, BHR has experienced serious financial difficulties and has even turned to the public for fundraising assistance to cover our communications systems and much needed computer replacements in critical departments.

“We are extremely disappointed that we have been unable to reach an agreement guaranteeing the largest mental health provider in the South Puget Sound region will be able to continue to offer services seamlessly to our clients in keeping with our mission” said BHR Chief Executive Officer, John P. Masterson. “We believe that all of our employees, including those members of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, want us to progress quickly into a resolution in an effort to work together as a team and rebuild our financial stability so we can best be able to serve those clients.”

BHR opened its doors in 1956 and currently, their approximately 300 employees provide mental health and chemical dependency treatment to 10,000 primarily Medicaid clients in Thurston, Mason and Grays Harbor Counties. With residential, school based, crisis, superior and family court, transitional case management, pregnant & parenting women, adult intensive outpatient treatment and core outpatient services for adults, families and children, BHR maintains one of the widest panels of services in the state of Washington.

Throughout the entire time of this proposed strike, BHR will continue to provide crisis response services in Grays Harbor, Thurston, and Mason counties. Inpatient and Crisis Stabilization services will also be continued throughout these three days at our Evaluation and Treatment Center in Olympia. Crisis Stabilization services will also be continued throughout these three days at the Grays Harbor Crisis Clinic. On Friday, outpatient psychiatry appointments will occur as previously scheduled, but case management and therapy services will be rescheduled for later dates. Also on Friday, mental health professionals will be stationed in our Shelton, Olympia, and” title=”View all articles about Hoquiam here”>Hoquiam offices from 8-5. Our Recovery Services and Elma offices will be closed on Friday.

In addition to SEIU, BHR is also represented by OPEIU (Office Professionals Employee International Union) and while they do not support strike action, they are also very saddened with this settlement outcome.

“It’s very upsetting that BHR’s management and SEIU staff were unable to come to an agreement and avoid a strike,” said Tammi Keesee, 21-year employee of BHR and OPEIU member. “A strike only serves to disrupt services to our clients. Especially now, when BHR needs to focus on our funding issues as a team and we need to work towards a solution that can positively impact our mission.”




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