Practicing What We Preach
We the Crisis Counselors of Suicide and Prevention Services (SPCS) have come together to advocate for a dignified, respectful and trauma-informed workplace for all of us who make it possible for the Crisisline to serve our community. We are committed to the mission of SPCS to “promote constructive responses to crisis and trauma, and to prevent violence to self and others through direct support and community education.” In line with the established literature on trauma-informed care, we seek a workplace centered on transparency and empathy where counselors understand what is happening at an agency level and have a say in shaping policy.
We plan to be represented by the Communication Workers of America Union in order to improve working conditions and to continue offering excellent phone counseling to the public.
Unionization will give counselors a voice, ensuring that counselors’ needs are met and can effectively advocate to improve the services we offer the community. We recognize that effective counseling is grounded in the well being of staff and the well being of the agency as a whole.
We intend to negotiate a legally binding contract that will address the following concerns:
- We seek an agency that is transparent about bylaws, revenue, budgets, policies, grievance processes, board membership, meetings, and minutes, hiring practices, and that seeks first to hire from within and involves staff in the hiring process.
- We seek an agency that once again provides Postvention Services.
- We seek an agency that encourages and welcomes the input of frontline staff to shape policy and training, identify and adapt to emerging trends in calls, and to prioritize staff well being.
- We seek an agency that provides clinical supervision and case consultation.
- We seek an agency with adequate staffing of counselors and administrative positions ensuring that staff can respond to calls sustainably and can take time off when needed.
- We seek an agency where staff can take breaks, eat meals and use the restroom.
- We seek an agency whose trainers have deep clinical experience. The suicide prevention curriculum should be available to staff and written by individuals who have done the work extensively. Domestic and sexual violence training should be mandatory.
- We seek an agency that understands the risks of vicarious traumatization inherent in this field and that continuously seeks to mitigate this risk with industry best practices and standards as seen in the SAMHSA TIP 57 guidelines and other relevant literature.
- We seek an agency providing pay and benefits commensurate with similar agencies in areas with similar costs of living.
- We seek an agency that respects emotional labor and empathy as highly skilled capacities worthy of respect.
We respectfully request voluntary recognition from Suicide Prevention and Crisis Services (SPCS) to join Communications Workers of America (CWA). We will await your response within 48hrs pursuant to going public with our campaign.