SACU Workers Announce Vote of No Confidence Against SACU Director


June 26, 2023

Salem, OR - Oregon AFSCME Local 1246-represented employees of the Stabilization and Crisis Unit (SACU), a State of Oregon agency that provides residential treatment for Oregonians with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health diagnosis, have initiated a vote of no confidence against SACU Director Sierra Rawson. Their complaints range from an inability to run a successful program, a lack of respect and understanding for the work of SACU staff, and an unwillingness to collaborate with union-represented employees.  

SACU is grappling with an alarming vacancy rate of nearly 15%. This acute shortage of staff has led to an unprecedented rise in work-related injuries over the past few years, jeopardizing the safety and well-being of both employees and the individuals they serve.

Despite concerted efforts to collaborate with Director Rawson in search of viable solutions to address the staffing crisis, SACU staff say that she has consistently prioritized pay increases for her management team, rather than distributing those much-needed raises to frontline staff members, and that she does not respect the longstanding partnership between SACU and the unionized employees of the agency. 

Oregon AFSCME Local 1246 President Christina Brown emphasizes the urgent need for change, stating, "Our members have spoken loud and clear. We no longer have faith in Director Rawson's ability to lead us out of the unsafe staffing situation we find ourselves in. The safety and well-being of our frontline staff, as well as the individuals we serve, should be our top priority. It is time for a change in leadership to restore confidence and ensure that SACU can effectively carry out its responsibility to our communities."

In a survey of Oregon AFSCME-represented SACU members in March 2023, over 99% expressed their profound lack of trust in Rawson's ability to guide them through the current hazardous staffing conditions.

SACU, staffed by over 600 dedicated members, will exercise their democratic right to vote in person at each of their respective work locations. The primary objective of this vote is to present a clear and compelling vote of no confidence to the Oregon Department of Human Services and Governor Kotek’s office, urging the immediate removal of Sierra Rawson from her position as SACU Director.