Hundreds of Western Massachusetts mental health workers are continuing a three-day strike protesting a contract stalemate with a taxpayer-funded social service agency.
Strikes continue for a second day at the offices of Clinical & Support Options, which provides emergency mental health intervention and substance abuse treatment for thousands of children and families. Some 350 front-line clinicians and crisis workers represented by SEIU Local 509 are calling for higher wages and increased benefits, according to union spokesman Jason Stephany.
“The idea is to send a clear message to management here that they need to respect and value mental health services without disrupting client care for a significant period of time," he said.
CSO’s president says the union’s demands are unworkable noting about 90 percent of its budget comes from government sources. Pickets are planned at the Pittsfield and Springfield offices at noon. Offices remain open.