Brien Center Workers Vote To Strike Starting July 6th
After unsuccessful contract negotiations that began last September, healthcare workers at the Berkshire County-based Brien Center plan to strike starting July 6th.Members of SEIU Local 509 voted to strike in opposition to rising health insurance costs and what they call low wages. Scott Levesque has worked at the mental health and substance abuse agency for three years. He picketed outside the center’s Pittsfield office in March.
“As an employee has a reputation so does an agency,” Levesque said. “The Brien Center has gotten a reputation of low pay, not a good place and that’s affecting our ability to recruit people.”
The union represents about 350 direct care and human services staff at the Brien Center, which employees 450 people throughout Berkshire County. Brien’s CEO says the agency is meeting with a federal mediator June 30th in hopes of avoiding a strike, but will remain open in the event of one.