Hardship Committee


The Hardship Committee of the Legal Services Staff Association, NOLSW/UAW 2320, was formed to oversee the distribution of hardship funds during the Legal Services NYC employees’ strike in May and June 2013. Hardship funds were available as a specifically earmarked portion of LSSA’s overall strike fund, and were intended to assist members with necessary expenses that could not be covered due to loss of income. With 27 members total, including legal workers and attorneys from every shop, the Hardship Committee worked together to develop policies and materials regarding the submission, processing, and decision of over 100 hardship applications. This and the accompanying documents are intended to serve as a record of the Hardship Committee’s procedures, and a library of the materials we developed and used to carry out our work.

In the early days of the strike, the LSSA Hardship Committee divided itself into three teams (click on links to access each team’s protocol and materials):

  • APPLICATIONS: The Applications Team met with members to explain the Committee’s decision-making process, and to complete and review applications.
  • PROCESSING: The Processing Team copied and redacted submitted applications, and kept a master list of applications and awards. The Processing Team also presented hardship decisions to the applicants
  • DECISIONS: The Decisions Team was responsible for reviewing and deciding submitted applications.
[spacer size=”10″]The primary documents distributed by the Hardship Committee to the LSSA membership were the Hardship Fund FAQHardship Application, and the Confidentiality Agreement. These materials were developed with the full participation of the Hardship Committee, sometimes working from proposals designed by one of the above teams. These documents reflect changes made to the Hardship Committee’s decision-making formula in mid-June, i.e. strike pay no longer counted as income, and documentation would not be required for expenses less than $500. These changes were made based on feedback from the membership, and awards issued prior to the changes were reviewed and recalculated based on the new formula.

The Hardship Committee took very seriously its obligation to safeguard and keep confidential LSSA members’ personal and financial information. All Hardship Committee members signed a confidentiality agreement as a condition of participating in the committee, and all applications were redacted so that Decisions Team members would not know the identity of applicants.