Employees with Austin’s mental health authority, Integral Care, are trying to unionize

The Integrated Care Workers Union with Communications Workers of America said they want higher salaries, increased employee retention, and increased safety.

AUSTIN, Texas – A group of employees at Integrated Health Care, the Austin and Travis County Mental Health Authority are trying to join unions.

“I don’t think people should sleep outside unless they want to,” Jane Hillo said.

Hilo and her colleagues have dedicated their lives to helping people with homelessness get back on their feet. At the moment, they are facing difficulties of their own.

“With the cost of living in Austin so high, some people may have to stray from the thing they’re excited about to afford to live,” said rehabilitation specialist Molly Baker.

This is exactly what Baker does not want to do. So a group of Integral Care employees is trying to form unions to address staff shortages, high employee turnover, low wages, and safety concerns.

The nonprofit community center runs mental health care across Austin and Travis County.

“There are 260 vacancies,” Hilo said.

So far, 72 employees have signed authorization cards.

“People are falling through the cracks because their helpers are leaving,” Hilo said. “I feel like if they doubled our salaries to start, people would come in and do this work.”

Because it is a community center formed under and subject to Chapter 534 of the Texas Health and Safety Act, Integral Care is a state agency, a unit of government, a unit of local government, and the political division of Texas. . Because of its governmental entity status, it is not subject to the National Labor Relations Act, and is prohibited by Texas law from entering into a collective bargaining contract and recognizing a labor organization as a bargaining agent for a group of its employees.

Integral Care wrote in a statement:

“Integral Care’s executive management team and Board of Trustees share the interests of this group of employees – better working conditions, safety, improved customer outcomes, reduced employee turnover, and higher retention. We will continue to listen to and learn from our employees and take steps to address these concerns.”

“We want to stay and make things better,” Baker said. “Our goal is to take care of quality.”

The group is now known as United Workers for Integrated Care with Communications Workers of America. They want to meet the heads of the nonprofits and make sure no one else falls through the cracks.


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