Behavioral Health Resources strike imminent
Behavioral Health Resources announced that a year of union negotiations have forced them to strike, starting this Friday.
BHR announced on Wednesday a lack of contract settlement with SEIU Healthcare 1199NW. The 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 recent months, BHR has experienced serious financial difficulties and has turned to the public for fundraising assistance to cover their 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 employs approximately 300 employees providing mental health and chemical dependency treatment to 10,000 clients in Grays Harbor, Thurston, and Mason Counties.
Throughout the proposed strike, BHR will continue to provide crisis response services in the counties. Crisis Stabilization will also be continued throughout these three days at the Grays Harbor Crisis Clinic. Also on Friday, mental health professionals will be stationed at the Hoquiam, Shelton, and Olympia offices from 8-5.