April 3, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Great Falls, Mont – Workers at Anaconda Work and Residential Enterprises, Montana’s leading provider of mental health and disability services for adolescents and adults, have voted to join Service Employees International Union Local 775.
The nonprofit’s about 800 employees expect to begin bargaining soon, an SEIU spokesperson said. “We’re excited that hundreds of direct care workers at AWARE have united with SEIU 775 in order to improve the quality of care for vulnerable consumers and fight for living wage jobs and good benefits,” SEIU 775 Montana director Jacquie Helt said. AWARE CEO Larry Noonan said the company did not oppose the union because “it is not a bad thing for employees to feel they can express their opinion in an organized way” and the union would help it “lobby for our program to get the resources to provide for folks.” In January, AWARE won a state contract to provide care to developmentally disabled people who are being moved to its group homes from the Montana Developmental Center, which the state is closing. Read more