The Latest on DAC Situation 04 Aug 17

Not a criminal situation, concerns that would speak to issues of State Regulation and Licensing.

Those were the findings of Pennington County Attorney, Alan Rogalla, in the case of alleged safety violations stemming from Administrative Contingency Plans tied to a Labor Dispute at the Falls DAC, an employment support and day activity non-profit for the developmentally disabled in Thief River Falls.

Rogalla says concerns over staffing on transportation routes and staff to client ratios are licensing questions that can only be resolved by the state. At the same time, Rogalla says he wants the public to be aware of the reporting process when it comes to neglect or abuse of vulnerable adults, in Minnesota that is a one-step clearing house, the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center at 844-880-1574.

Brian Nowak, with Teamsters Local #120, says a strike vote was authorized last month, but employees are aware of how disruptive and confusing that would be to the clients they serve and would like to avoid a picket line in favor of an educational effort.

Safety related to staffing questions were raised Monday by union workers after some clients were asked to stay home this week, an apparent effort to lessen the load, with some employees arriving at work and told they would not be needed that day because numbers were low. That leaves parents, care-givers and group homes caught in the middle, concerned that services safely continue in spite of the labor impasse.

DAC Employees are working without a contract this week after a an extension expired Sunday. With a salary range of $11.65 to $16.50 an hour, employees say they will continue to take on the job with no Health Insurance Package, and are asking only a cost of living increase, the last granted in 2015.