On May 15, 2013, we voted overwhelmingly to reject a contract offer which asked us to give back some piece of almost every benefit we had. Secretaries, receptionists, intake officers, attorneys, financial services staff, tech staff, paralegals, process servers, social workers, support staff, and maintenance staff all voted to reject an unfair contract and stand up for our health benefits, our retirement plan, our job protections, and the integrity of our work.
After nearly six weeks on strike, we approved a contract that allows the employees of Legal Services NYC (LSNYC) to return to work representing New York City’s low-income communities.
Employees successfully defended health care and retirement benefits that management had sought to slash, and won new terms meant to protect unionized employees in the event of future layoffs. Such “layoff equity” protections require that any significant layoffs be fair and reasonable with respect to their impact on union members.
“This is a significant victory for the union, employees, and low-income New Yorkers,” said Aisha Baruni, a Staff Attorney at the organization’s Queens office. “These new layoff equity terms ensure that this organization will continue to employ and retain committed staff to represent this city’s low-income families and the elderly.”
The contract maintains employees’ current salary scales and retirement benefits. The parties also agreed to a 1% salary contribution to health care premiums, to be paid by both management and staff, and a joint committee to study potential future health care savings.
“Maintaining these benefits ensures that our attorneys, paralegals, and staff will be able to pursue careers at Legal Services NYC and provide high-quality services to New York City’s most vulnerable populations,” said Evelyn Falcon, an Executive Secretary at LSNYC’s Brooklyn office.