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BHR, union unable to reach a deal

Management and union workers from Behavioral Health Resources, which provides mental health and addiction services for Grays Harbor, Thurston and Mason counties, were unable to come to an agreement Wednesday that would avert a three-day strike starting at 8 a.m. Friday.

About a week ago the Service Employees International Union Healthcare 1199NW notified the non-profit mental health agency that it intended to strike. The agency said it would reschedule client appointments and it would maintain crisis services.

“Throughout the entire time of this proposed strike, BHR will continue to provide crisis response services in Grays Harbor, Thurston, and Mason counties,” the agency said in a statement. “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 Hoquiam offices from 8-5. Our Recovery Services and Elma offices will be closed on Friday.”

The strike starts at 8 a.m. Friday and ends at 7:59 Monday.

A collective bargaining agreement expired almost a year ago.

The agency has serious financial problems. The union says the problem is due in part to management decisions. Management says there has been a “perfect storm” of circumstances that include the way the agency is reimbursed for its services through its contract with Grays Harbor County.

BHR has about 300 employees and treats about 10,000 primarily Medicaid clients in the three counties. Services come through a wide variety of ways including, 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.