A majority of workers at a Hillsboro mental health and substance abuse crisis center are ready for a union. The unit consists of about 60 mental health therapists, substance use counselors and support staff at Hawthorn Walk-In Center, a facility funded by Washington County and run by the Portland-based nonprofit Lifeworks NW. It also includes a group of crisis clinicians that ride with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in response to behavioral health calls routed through 911.
They asked the National Labor Relations Board March 23 to schedule a union election. It’s the latest in a series of campaigns by Oregon AFSCME to unionize and improve conditions at behavioral health providers. Oregon AFSCME asked for voluntary union recognition, but Lifeworks NW declined.
“Lifeworks has reached out to anti-union law firms in an attempt to neutralize this effort,” said Oregon AFSCME Executive Director Stacy Chamberlain in a press statement. “Lifeworks should not be using their limited resources on anti-union activities to fight their own employees.”