AP NEWS

South Dakota Developmental Center workers vote to unionize

March 9, 2017

REDFIELD, S.D. (AP) — Workers at the South Dakota Developmental Center in Redfield have voted to unionize.

The American News reports (http://bit.ly/2n9ZIaH ) that 88 of the 91 direct support professionals who were eligible to vote favored joining the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. They say it’s an effort to improve safety for both clients and staff.

The state-funded facility helps people with intellectual and physical developmental disabilities. Last year, it faced criticism by former employees who accused the center of having a hostile administration, staff shortages and a dangerous work environment. The director at the time resigned.

By state law, the wages of employees at the developmental center can only be set by the state Legislature. Union organizer Thor Backus says that means the new union will focus on safety standards.

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com