MAPE members testify before Legislature

Publish Date
Region 17 Director David Clanaugh testifies on a bill

Two MAPE members recently testified before the Legislature at the Capitol on safety and retirement issues. Region 17 Director David Clanaugh testified in support of House File 4200, a bill that creates worker protections for patient care staff in state facilities and acute care hospitals when raising concerns around staff and patient safety.  

Clanaugh serves as the Volunteer Services Coordinator at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program in Moose Lake. He supports volunteers in providing spiritual and support group services, working directly with many colleagues and about 150 clients through a wide range of modalities in a therapeutic setting. “Working with these clients is quite challenging, especially with the high turnover and chronic understaffing. Colleagues frequently approach me about feeling between a rock and a hard place having to do tasks when they do not feel safe yet feeling if they refuse, they will be ‘disciplined.’ This involves direct safety situations but also being frequently forced to work double shifts, being reassigned repeatedly during shifts and feeling discouraged from participating in union work,” Clanaugh said. 

“These factors make it more difficult to recruit or retain enough capable colleagues so we can deliver the high-quality programming needed to rehabilitate clients in an environment safe for everyone. Without sufficiently capable and experienced staff, clients who may not be ready could be mistakenly released into the community. Clients with potential to do their work and return home can also be delayed in their journeys with extra taxpayer cost,” Clanaugh said.  

“After clients assaulted five colleagues at Moose Lake MSOP last year, it is clear that the status quo does not work,” he added.  

The bill passed and was sent to the House Labor committee. 

House File 3930/Senate File 3761: Inclusion in CERP 

Local 1901’s Ava Olin, a music therapist at the Forensics Hospital in St. Peter,

Local 1901’s Ava Olin, music therapist at Minnesota Forensics Program in St. Peter, testifies on a bill

testified in support of a bill, HF 3930/SF 3761, that would add her position to the list of Correctional Employee Retirement Plan (CERP) eligible jobs at the Department of Human Services.   

The CERP program allows employees to retire early after meeting specific requirements. Last year, MAPE successfully negotiated for members who provide treatment, rehabilitation or services to clients while incarcerated at a state correctional facility, Minnesota Security Hospital and Minnesota Sex Offenders Program to receive a substantive employer contribution toward health care premiums like members in other unions.  

As a music therapist, Olin provides clinical and evidence-based music interventions to accomplish musical and non-musical goals for the patients at the St. Peter Regional Treatment Facility. In a mental health setting, some of the benefits music therapy can help achieve include decreased anxiety/agitation, learning and practicing new coping skills, and successful and safe emotional release. 

Olin is currently the only music therapist at the regional treatment center and provides services throughout the campus including the forensic nursing home and North Campus location. Over the nearly five years she has been in her position, Olin says she has received positive feedback of her work from patients, “Patients in multiple groups have commented on how music therapy sessions have helped them. I frequently hear ‘this is my favorite group’ and ‘I always feel so much better after music therapy.’” 

Olin is currently the only music therapist at the regional treatment center and provides services throughout the campus including the forensic nursing home and North Campus location.  

The bill has been laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus bill, a large bill that is made up of numerous smaller bills on the same small topic.