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CAHOOTS, HOOTS workers continue work towards forming labor union

Brian Bull

Workers with two programs run by the White Bird Clinic are pressing on with unionization efforts.

In recent years, CAHOOTS has been held up as a model alternative to police action. Meaning “Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets,” the service went to 24-hours five years ago, then saw demand intensify during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chelsea Swift is a crisis worker with CAHOOTS. She said burnout and retention have been major issues among staff, and that’s largley motivated the push to form a union.

White Bird Clinic

“We want to work at White Bird for a really long time,” Swift told KLCC. “But we need to make more than a couple thousand dollars a month after taxes to do that. We need to have a retirement to make CAHOOTS a career. And those are things that just historically have not been built into the non-profit system.”

Other workers with Helping Out Our Teens in Schools (HOOTS), are also supporting the unionization effort. They’ve been meeting with Teamsters Local 206 in Springfield, and hope White Bird is receptive to their push.

©2022, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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