UE Local 170 members, who work for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), voiced their concerns over a number of issues in a meeting with the new DHHR Secretary Karen Bowling on October 7 in Charleston. The UE members attending the meeting work for three of the agency's largest bureaus: Bureau for Children and Families, Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities, and the Bureau for Child Support Enforcement.

The UE Local 170 members who attended the meeting included Chris Wolford, UE Local 170 vice president and a child support specialist from Harrison County; Jamie Beaton, UE Local 170 chief steward and a health service assistant from William R. Sharpe, Jr. Hospital in Lewis County; Sandra Summers, a social worker from Jackson County; Carolyn Blankenship, and Gloria Adkins - both of whom are economic service workers from Fayette County.

Chris Wolford asked Secretary Bowling the status of the caseload standards workgroups' recommendations, and if the agency was planning on completing the caseload standards work. Secretary Bowling assured the UE members that the agency was committed to developing caseload standards for all of agency's program areas . She said that the agency was currently reviewing the workgroups' recommendations, and will be making their caseload standards recommendations to the legislature before the end of the year. Secretary Bowling said that phase two, which will develop caseload standards recommendations for the healthcare areas of the agency, will begin after phase one is completed.

The UE Local 170 members also raised concerns over the agency's personnel evaluations process because employees are receiving bad evaluations if they cannot keep up with unmanageable caseloads; safety training for employees at the state's two psychiatric facilities; abusive supervisors; and last but not least, staffing and pay concerns.