June 12, 2024

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CAHOOTS, HOOTS workers ratify 1st union contract with White Bird

2 min read
The contract raises the hourly base wage for crisis workers and medics from $18 to $22, with some union members receiving over $34 per hour based on experience and years of service.

from the CAHOOTS and HOOTS Workers’ Union

CAHOOTS and HOOTS workers, represented by Teamsters Local 206, on Wednesday unanimously ratified their first-ever union contract with White Bird Clinic.

The April 24 vote came after almost two years of organizing and over a year of bargaining among the parties involved.

For CAHOOTS and HOOTS crisis workers and medics, the contract will raise the hourly base wage from $18 to $22, with some union members receiving over $34 per hour depending on experience and years with the White Bird Clinic.

In August 2022, every CAHOOTS and HOOTS worker signed union cards and presented the unanimous decision to White Bird Clinic leadership that the teams were seeking union representation as a joint bargaining unit. These union cards were then submitted to the National Labor Relations Board, triggering a union election.

In September 2022, the CAHOOTS and HOOTS workers won their right to organize, represented by Teamsters Local 206, again showing a unanimous decision with all “yes” votes.

“We are so grateful community support allowed us to cross this finish line with White Bird Clinic leadership,” said Hayley Shapiro, HOOTS program coordinator and crisis worker. “At this point, we want to say thank you to White Bird Clinic for allowing us to follow a path of self-determination and we hope we made our White Bird ancestors proud!”

This historic first union contract comes just two and half weeks after CAHOOTS and HOOTS union workers rallied public support at a rally in Kesey Square attended by over 100 community members, social service and healthcare workers, and other White Bird Clinic workers.

CAHOOTS and HOOTS workers also garnered over 1,000 signatures on a public petition urging White Bird Clinic to support a first fair contract.

The CAHOOTS and HOOTS union is one of three separate bargaining units at White Bird Clinic. In February, workers with the White Bird Clinic Crisis hotline ratified their first union contract representing over 20 workers.

The White Bird Clinic Front Rooms and NEST department, which will represent over 30 workers, are still in the bargaining process.

CAHOOTS and HOOTS are staff-run programs within White Bird Clinic that provide free, confidential, voluntary, and accessible crisis intervention and mental health support to whoever is in need. CAHOOTS averages over 20,000 calls for service annually in Eugene and Springfield, providing 24-hour coverage. HOOTS provides 28 clinics for students and school staff in 12 schools within Lane County.

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