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.
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.