It takes a lot for workers to speak out. People fear confrontation, retaliation, blacklisting. They feel a sense of familial loyalty to their employer. They don’t want to cause any trouble. Almost all of the workers who call us don’t do it because of their low wages or unpaid overtime. They do it because there is a straw that breaks the camel’s back.
For the staff at Advancing Justice – LA, that straw was our air conditioning. More specifically, the fact that our air conditioning would break for weeks on end, staff would get sick, client meetings would get disrupted, and Management would do nothing to meaningfully address staff’s health and safety concerns. We unionized in an effort to demand more transparency, accountability, and better working conditions. (This was not an easy process. To put it lightly: nonprofit staff are far better at advocating for their clients and their communities than advocating for themselves.)
Though our union was formally recognized last year, Management and the Board continue to actively work against us. Over a year later, we still have not been able to negotiate a union contract. Management and the Board have begun making huge decisions that harm not only our staff, but our partner organizations and our clients. They refuse to give staff seats at the table to express our concerns. They refuse to engage with us in any meaningful way. And now, they are trying to terminate those of us who have spoken up–the people who are being targeted are the people who have been the most involved in unionizing and the most vocal in meetings.
There are awful ironies in this situation, but I won’t get into those here. I will just say that I am heartbroken. We are being punished for caring–about our coworkers, about our partners, about our clients, about our communities. I worry about those of us who have families to feed and bills to pay. I wonder if they’ll give me enough notice that I can warn my clients that I won’t be around anymore when they call, when they need me. I think about what will happen to all of my work, all of our work, when we’re gone. None of it looks good.
So I’m asking you to support me and my coworkers by signing this petition and sharing it with others. Please help us show Management and the Board that our staff matters.