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

October 7, 2019

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.

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