Our Movement

Changes in our communities, our jobs and our lifestyles are reflected in America’s changing behavioral health needs. But our system for delivering that care has not kept up. This broken system is failing all of us — professionals, clients and communities — and the most vulnerable are paying the price. Even with better health coverage, too many of our neighbors face social stigmas against seeking help, or behavioral health professionals struggling to keep up in an industry that has not adjusted to the new health care landscape.

Inadequate access to medically-necessary treatment is just one piece of the problem while increases in funding haven’t translated into improvements in care. Frequent burnout leads to inconsistent care, wasted resources and poor results. The quality of the care delivered and the ability of providers to maintain an appropriate caseload are also important factors. Workplace safety and the high cost of education to quality for low-paying jobs contribute to a system where the providers find more reasons to leave than reasons to stay. 

Behavioral health providers want to deliver quality care without the burden of overwhelming caseloads. This is why they must be empowered to advocate for their clients by having a strong voice on the job and within the behavioral health system.

Our Goals

A strong and equitable community behavioral health system can empower people to recover, heal and thrive. Studies have estimated that nationally 57% of mental health workers and an astonishing 71% of family social workers showed high burnout levels and the resulting staff turnover for clients forces clients to start over in treatment each time they are assigned a new clinician. [source: Social Work in Health Care, Volume 28, 1998] As a result, clients frequently become less willing to engage in treatment the more providers they interact with.

Addressing America's mental and behavioral health crisis means supporting the behavioral health workers who are critical to the health and well-being of our communities. But with growing caseloads, stagnant pay and poor outcomes for our clients, one thing is clear: the behavioral health industry isn’t going to change unless care providers stand up and fight for better care.

We aspire to a system that puts healing first as we work towards concrete solutions that will allow behavioral health professionals to deliver the quality care that clients and their families deserve.

  • Reasonable caseloads and staffing ratios that allow us to do our best work.
  • Meaningful development of our skills so we can provide better care.
  • Adequate wages and benefits that reflect our skill, dedication and the importance of our jobs.
  • Transparency and accountability to ensure behavioral health agencies are putting client health first.
  • A strong and protected voice on the job.

The Union Difference

We’re coming together as a movement to form a union so we can change our working conditions and provide the best possible care for our clients.

Fair wages and benefits:
Union members are more likely to have higher wages, paid sick days, affordable health insurance and retirement benefits. For most union members, their union job means they can afford stable housing and provide for their kids.

A stronger workforce:
Union membership is associated with higher productivity, lower employee turnover, improved workplace communication and a better-trained workforce.

Equity and empowerment:
Unions have made a difference in helping to close the wage gap over the last 40 years. By giving workers a united voice, women and people of color who are union members make higher wages and have more job security than their nonunion counterparts.

Join the Movement

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