LSSA/ALAA Joint Statement on Pay Parity with Corporation Counsel

June 14, 2019

Joint Statement from the Legal Services Staff Association, UAW 2320, and the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW 2325, on City Budget Agreement for Compensation Parity Between Indigent Legal Services Staff and the City Law Department

(NEW YORK, NY)The Legal Services Staff Association, NOLSW/UAW Local 2320, and The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW Local 2325 (ALAA) collectively represent a majority of the public defender and civil legal service staff in New York City. They praise a FY 2020 budget agreement between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Corey Johnson to fund compensation parity for public defender and legal services organizations with the staff of the City Law Department.

“Our union’s attorneys, social workers, paralegals, and support staff fight for the civil rights and dignity of low-income New Yorkers every day in every borough,” said Jared Trujillo, President of ALAA. “We meet our clients on the worst day of their lives and we are their first line of defense – whether they are families fearing eviction, people accused of crimes fighting for their freedom and to have their humanity recognized, individuals and families at risk of deportation from the country they call home, disabled New Yorkers trying to access benefits they need to survive, or people navigating the complexities of the tax code.  Our members love their jobs, but the rising cost of living and mounting educational debt has made doing this work unaffordable. We are grateful to Mayor De Blasio, Speaker Corey Johnson, and advocates in the City Council for working to end this pay disparity. This will enable our members to continue their work, and provide the talented and experienced representation that New Yorkers deserve.”

“This is an important step forward,” said Sonja Shield, President of the Legal Services Staff Association, NOLSW/UAW 2320. “Our union members who provide free civil legal services at Legal Services NYC and Mobilization for Justice provide critical services to low-income New Yorkers. Pay parity will allow our staff – attorneys, paralegals, social workers, process servers, intake workers, and more – to continue doing the work they are committed to, and will allow our non-profit organizations to pay salaries and fund services at the level they deserve. Our clients deserve experienced advocates; pay parity will allow our organizations to recruit and retain skilled and passionate staff. We thank the City, the Mayor, and the City Council for their commitment to closing the pay gap and helping us achieve pay parity.”