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Brien Center Workers Vote To Strike Starting July 6th

Jim Levulis
Brien Center workers and members of SEIU Local 509 picket outside the Brien Center's Pittsfield offices Monday morning seeking a new contract with higher wages. Union representatives have voted 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.

Jim is WAMC’s Assistant News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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