Caro Center former and current employees protest for additional - WNEM TV 5

Caro Center former and current employees protest for additional staff

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CARO, MI (WNEM) -

Dozens of former and current Caro Center employees sat in the rain on Monday. They say they're being overworked and this is their cry for help.

"People are getting tired, people are getting hurt," said Renee Judd, a resident care aid.

Judd works at the Caro Center, in Tuscola County at the mental health facility.

Today, she and several of her co-workers are taking a stand. They say they're being forced to work double shifts, 16 hours a day, sometimes six days a week. And they've had enough.

"It's not getting any better,” Judd said. “Have a public picket to let community know this is going on."

Dave Holzworth recently retired from the Caro Center after 40 years.

He says the facility is short by about 30 workers. And is putting the staff and the patients they care for at risk.

"There are serious issues that happen, injuries occur both with patients and staff,” Holzworth said. “So fatigue really enters into it.”

The Caro Center is funded by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which recently merged with the Department of Community Health.

"I'm not sure if they thought stream lining was going to save them a buck, but we're not getting adequate staffing dollars," Holzworth said.

Jennifer Smith, a public information officer for DHS said they are working to fill vacant positions at the Caro Center as budgeted, but she couldn't give a time frame for when more staff would be in place.

Employees say help can get here soon enough.

"Great care is given here but we feel like we have one hand tied behind our backs when you are just exhausting your existing workforce. So, we need more people," Holzworth said.

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