Local 73 and AFSCME members led an information picket outside a Pathway Board meeting on Monday, June 25 in Jacksonville, IL.
Poor management practices at Pathway Services Unlimited in Jacksonville, IL has led to disruption of their clients regular routines, which has caused an increase in staff assaults. Pathway is a non-profit serving individuals with developmental disabilities, and for many of those individuals, a regular, predictable schedule with interactions with staff they know well for years is extremely important. When these schedules are disrupted, some clients respond physically.
In recent months, scheduling practices at Pathway have been in a constant state of flux. Even staff have little idea of how they will be moved around, and previous long-standing routines that clients have grown accustomed to have been disrupted as staff are shifted between clients on a daily basis, and as their regular schedules for breaks and lunch have been radically shifted, with some staff being required to leave as early as 10am for lunch. This has led to an uptick in staff assaults where minor assaults are now happening on an almost daily basis.
Workers at Pathway have attempted to address the situation by speaking with management. Management’s response left them shaken. During a brief meeting with the executive director on June 8, 2018 regarding these concerns at Pathway Day Program, workers were informed that they were to sit down, not speak or raise any concerns, and upon completion of the meeting they were told to exit immediately and without speaking. The meeting was structured as a lecture where workers learned nothing was to be done about their situation, and were told that if they did not like how Pathway was run, they could leave. Pathway is more than a job for workers there. They care about what they do. Many become attached to their clients and see them as family. That kind of response by management to good faith efforts to raise concerns about the effect on clients was shocking.
Problems at the workplace include:
- Workers are being moved from classroom to classroom leaving them to care for clients they have not been trained on or know very little about, which can be a dangerous situation for clients and employees.
- Denial of personal time off to attend funerals, get medical treatment, or to accompany family members who must go to St. Louis for serious medical treatment, even when substantial notice was given.
- Lunch break schedules for each different classroom leaving some employees going to their 30-minute lunch break as early as 10am when they started their 8 hour work day at 7am or 8am with no other breaks allowed for the remainder of the day.
- Management talking badly about employees when clients and other employees are present.
All of these concerns have been brought to the executive director’s attention and have been ignored. Employees simply feel that these concerns need to be fairly addressed. To that end, workers conducted an information picket outside of a Board meeting to demand their concerns be addressed.