Staff at Advancing Justice-LA Condemns Board & Management’s Mass Layoffs

October 7,

The Collective Bargaining Unit of
AFSCME District Council 36 (“the Union”) at Asian Americans Advancing Justice –
Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) condemns in the strongest terms the sudden
announcement of layoffs of 19 staff, including all 6 workers in our Youth and
Parent Leadership Development unit, 3 workers in our Asian Language Legal
Intake Project (ALLIP), 2 (both) of our workers in Immigrants’ Rights, 2 (both)
of our ESL / Civics instructors, 1 worker in Elder Law, 1 worker in Health Access
Project, 1 worker in Communications, 1 worker in Litigation, 1 worker in the Immigration
Project, and 1 worker in general administration.

Most of the staff targeted for layoffs were the most active and visible members of our Union, and participated in negotiations and engaged in protected activities to urge Advancing Justice–LA’s board and management to consider other feasible alternatives before resorting to layoffs.  The board and management have willfully ignored the Union’s pleas. 

Advancing Justice – LA’s board and
management have focused their layoff decisions on those who spoke out most
openly in defense of their colleagues and the critical work we do on behalf of
low-income Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI)
communities.  Others who have not been picked off in this devastating
round of layoffs have been constructively terminated, forced to leave the
organization due to the board and management’s refusal to bargain a contract in
good faith and relentless determination to proceed with terminations without
first meaningfully considering alternatives, such as pay cuts for our
highest-paid staff, furloughs, and other less-drastic measures.  The board and management’s draconian
layoff decisions will chill employees’ legally-protected right to collectively
organize and only strike more fear and anxiety among the staff that remain.  

Over the last few months, the Union
has made multiple appeals to Advancing Justice – LA to fulfill its legal duty
to bargain with the Union, including over layoffs.  Employers with
unionized staff must bargain over layoffs, including “multiple-motive layoff[s]
based partially on labor costs.”  Pan
Am. Grain Co. v. N.L.R.B.
, 558 F.3d 22, 27 (1st Cir. 2009).  We are
shocked the board and management have, in announcing these layoffs, breached
their obligations to bargain with the Union first.  

The Union announces its plans to
hold a vigil today, October 7, at 12 pm, at Advancing Justice – LA’s office at
1145 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, to mourn these gratuitous layoffs, the loss
of our colleagues’ livelihoods, and the loss of critical services that our
colleagues have provided to the low-income, AANHPI communities in Los Angeles
for many years.  Community members are welcome.

Please also join the Union for a
picket tomorrow, October 8, at 12 pm, again at 1145 Wilshire Blvd., to protest
the layoffs and the effects that these layoffs will have on our staff and the
communities we work to serve.

For media inquiries, contact:

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