The ACLU Is Going After Its Own Union Workers’ Contracts

Try this for irony: The ACLU is taking a melon baller to its union workers’ contracts. The collective bargaining unit representing legal assistants, receptionists, bookkeepers, accounting assistants, mail clerks, and most of the rest of the ACLU’s support staff plans to picket the national headquarters today over the nonprofit’s aggressive rollbacks of contract provisions.

Update: ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero Claims the Labor Union Is “Extorting” Him by Talking to The Village Voice

Contract negotiations have been underway since late March, but due to the slow progress union organizers have decided to take it to the streets. Local 2110 UAW–the same local representing Village Voice–and its supporters will gather at 125 Broad Street at noon to put public pressure on the national civil rights organization.

The scope of the concessions ACLU is asking for are unprecedented despite the union’s good faith effort to negotiate, says Eden Schulz, secretary-treasurer of Local 2110.

“We came in with pretty modest proposals, but management came in with a mountain of givebacks,” says Schulz. “We’ve had very standard contract language for people’s rights on the job for more than 30 years.”

Among the bigger concessions as a complete transformation of healthcare benefits. The ACLU is asking that union workers, the lowest-paid employees at the nonprofit, to contribute toward healthcare premiums, a system Schulz says has never existed at the ACLU.

All this while executives at the company got a combined $100,000 pay raise in 2012, enough to support an 8 percent bump in salaries for all union worker salaries.

Managers are also looking to defang the “just cause” provision in union workers’ contracts, the right of a worker to get a fair hearing with an arbitrator if managers are looking to fire her. It demands that employers prove they have a good reason for terminating someone. The ACLU management hopes to narrow the infractions protected by the arbitration process, and to make “disloyalty” a fireable offense without defining what exactly disloyalty means.

“Management’s attempt to weaken the just cause provision in our contract is shocking,” says administration assistant Florence Green, “especially from the ACLU.”

Update: ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero Claims the Labor Union Is “Extorting” Him by Talking to The Village Voice


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