• Arbitrator finds in favor of Murray employees

    by  • June 20, 2013 • News

    The battle to save Murray Center has chalked up another victory, after an arbitrator on Tuesday ordered the Murray Center to follow procedure and restore staff to their previous roles within the community discharge process, after employees filed a grievance saying they were being cut out of meetings and the standard operating procedure.

    “This argument started at Jacksonville [Developmental Center],” explained union spokesman Ed LaPorte, saying the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) alleged the private contractor hired by the arbitrationstate was doing work of union staff at Murray and staff were being cut out of meetings and the resident discharge process.

    According to LaPorte, Murray staff is best suited to assess the needs of Murray residents, as they are trained to do so and are familiar with the residents.

    “The fact remains, and what some people fail to realize, is our people are committed to doing what is in the best interest of the residents,” he commented.

    Arbitrator Edwin H. Benn ordered that unless otherwise agreed upon, Standard Operating Policy and Procedure 181, “Community Discharge Procedure” shall be followed when transitioning individuals from the Murray Center to another residence and that Director of Developmental Disabilities Kevin Casey shall issue direction that the procedure be followed.

    Benn’s order comes a week after a federal judge ordered a halt to Murray resident transfers without the consent of the resident’s legal guardian.

    This week three residents for whom the state is legal guardian were to be transferred out of the Centralia developmental center and into community living arrangements. While one transfer was completed Wednesday, the two scheduled for today have been postponed.

    According to Benn’s order, if AFSCME believes procedure is not being followed and their members are still being left out of the assessment process, AFSCME, DHS AND CRA should bring the issue to Casey’s attention or to Labor Relations. If they are unable to reach an agreement, the case will be scheduled for an expedited hearing no later than Aug. 15, 2013.

    “This needs to be done right,” LaPorte said of the transitioning process. “and speed is not of the essence.”