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Group Of 112 Behavioral Health Workers In Oregon ‘Go Union,’ Join AFSCME

Published Wednesday, July 8, 2020
by Noah Wass/
Group Of 112 Behavioral Health Workers In Oregon ‘Go Union,’ Join AFSCME

(HOOD RIVER, OREGON) - A group of 112 Workers employed at the Mid-Columbia Center for Living in Hood River, Oregon is the latest in a string of Behavioral Health Care Units to Unionize with Oregon AFSCME (American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees).

The Workers provide mental health and addiction recovery services to residents of Hood River, Wasco and Sherman Counties at clinics located in The Dalles, Hood River, and Moro.

On June 11th, AFSCME submitted Union Cards signed by 70% of the Workers to the Oregon Employment Relations Board.  That came just one month and six days after Workers first contacted the Union.

Unlike other recent campaigns, which were at non-profit organizations, Mid-Columbia Center for Living workers are Public Employees - employed by an Inter-Governmental Agency that is overseen by a Tri-County Board of Commissioners.

AFSCME’s campaign at Mid-Columbia Center for Living is part of United We Heal, a nationwide AFSCME effort to organize Behavioral Health Care Professionals in a sector plagued by high turnover.

The COVID-19 Pandemic, however, called for a new set of organizing methods, AFSCME Officials said.

Union Supporter Sarah Smutz said Workers held meetings via video chat and in-person in parks, wearing masks while social distancing.

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