- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

REDFIELD, S.D. (AP) - A union representing government workers has scheduled meetings with employees at the South Dakota Developmental Center that is plagued by worker complaints and staff shortages.

Some former employees claimed the center has a hostile administration and a dangerous work environment. The facility is also chronically short of staff, resulting in required overtime for some employees.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees will hold two meetings on Feb. 11 with workers at the center in Redfield to discuss the prospect of unionizing, the American News reported (https://bit.ly/1KZYTWd ).

“I just want to sit down and hear what kind of struggles they are going through,” union spokesman Nathan Rham said. “If it’s something that they feel is going to benefit them in moving forward, then obviously, we would try to do whatever we could to help them one way or another.”

Center Director Jan Banghart has said the facility is using a variety of options to advertise open positions. She also has said staff meetings have addressed the claims of a poor work environment, and that focus groups are working on worker retention, recruitment and better support for staff.

The state-funded facility supports people with developmental disabilities. About 140 people live at the center and get round-the-clock care. The center has 338 worker positions, with about 40 currently unfilled.

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, https://www.aberdeennews.com


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