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Union Representing Employees Accusing SAMHSA of Illegal Labor Practices

September 19, 2019

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is under fire once again, this time from the union representing career HHS employees, which is accusing SAMHSA of engaging in a series of illegal labor practices.

The National Treasury Employees Union has begun filing several grievances against SAMHSA. In an article in Politico, the union’s national president stated that in addition to the filing of grievances, there was also a “complaint over the sudden elimination in August of telework accommodations for disabled employees.” The union president also stated that some staff alleged that “they were reassigned or suffered other retribution when they raised concerns about labor practices, which the union contends would be illegal. The concerns come amid a broader management shuffle stretching back to 2017.”

"SAMHSA employees are concerned that the agency’s poor treatment of its own workforce will impede this vital work as skilled, veteran employees head for the exits."

- Tony Reardon, NTEU national president in interview with Politico

The union sent out a memo to SAMHSA staff last month, asking them to document any legal or ethical violations they may have experienced at SAMHSA. They also asked employees to document instances of “legal or ethical violations,” including threats or examples of management retribution or retaliation or mismanagement of grantee funds.

Read the memo below:

We will keep Network readers updated as developments in this story unfold.

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About the Author

Scott Bryant-Comstock

My passion is helping to shape policy and practice in children’s mental health. For the past 40 years, my journey as a mental health advocate has traveled from volunteering at a suicide and crisis center, professional roles as a therapist in an outpatient clinic, in-home family therapist, state mental health official, Board Chair for a county mental health program, and national reviewer of children’s mental health systems reform efforts. As the founder of the Children’s Mental Health Network (2009), I lead the Network’s efforts to grow a national online forum for the exchange of ideas on how to continually improve children’s mental health research, policy and practice.

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