NAMPA — A public records request from the Idaho Department of Labor has revealed 10 employees filed complaints for wages against Valley Crisis Center within the past month.
The domestic violence shelter halted services Friday after an undisclosed number of staff members walked out around 1:30 p.m.
Valley Crisis Executive Director Yolanda Matos told the Press-Tribune on Friday that staff members had “panicked” and felt the shelter could no longer “meet their needs.”
The complaints were filed with the DOL on July 25, and mostly referenced July 1-15 as the dates during which they had not been paid. Letters addressed to Matos and Charlene Wright, Valley Crisis program services director, said “It has been 10 days since I was supposed to be paid” and noted that they had not been given a reasonable explanation for not being paid, nor a time or date when paychecks might be distributed. The letters ended with each staff member saying if they could not be paid immediately they would be forced to leave.
Matos said the center is experiencing serious financial problems, partially because of cuts to federal money the shelter relies on to operate.
Former wellness coordinator Heather Huffman, one of the claimants who was a wellness coordinator, said there were also discrepancies existing with benefits. She declined to go into further detail until she could speak with the other women who walked out.
A meeting with the Valley Crisis Board of Directors is scheduled for Thursday, when the issue of staffing and funding will be addressed. Jackie Moffis, one of the board members, said the board is aware of the wage complaints.
“With the economy, the grants have been cut, the money is not where the money used to be,” Moffis said. “Our spring fling in June did not bring in as much as it has in the past, and money is tight.”
Moffis said the center has received some donations in the past few days, and they are appreciative of those.
For now, those who need domestic violence services are being placed with other organizations, Moffis said. No one is turned away, but other arrangements are made since the shelter does not have enough staff at the moment.