Welcome to the labor movement! No matter how large or small your office is, you are connected to something much larger. As a dues-paying union member, you are a member of LSSA, NOLSW/ UAW Local 2320, the UAW International Union, the AFL-CIO, and ultimately a labor family with millions of members around the world. And in that connection, through united action, we have strength.
Legal Services Staff Association
LSSA is a wall-to-wall union, representing bargaining unit employees at Legal Services NYC and Mobilization for Justice (MFJ, formerly MFY Legal Services).
The highest and most democratic body within LSSA is the general membership meeting.
Between such meetings, which are typically held only in connection with elections and strikes, LSSA is governed by the Delegates Assembly, composed of elected attorney and legal worker delegates of each shop within LSNYC and MFJ. The Delegates Assembly meets on a monthly basis.
LSSA also has an Executive Committee, composed of the President, 2 Vice-Presidents (1 for the LSNYC bargaining unit and one for the MFJ bargaining unit), Treasurer, Secretary, Political Action Representative and Delegate-at-Large. The President is the only full-time officer of LSSA. The Executive Committee also meets monthly and makes decisions between delegate assembly meetings, subject to the approval of the delegate assembly.
The President, Vice-Presidents, Treasurer, Secretary, and Political Action Representative are elected each year by the membership. Delegates are elected each year by shop members and then the Delegates Assembly elects the Delegate-at-Large.
The basic governance documents for LSSA are its constitution and its bylaws, both available on the website at www.lssa2320.org.
The Legal Services Staff Association is a “unit” of the National Organization of Legal Services Workers, UAW Local 2320.
National Organization of Legal Services Workers/UAW 2320
NOLSW is a “local union” (Local 2320) within the structure of the UAW. It is the “labor organization” to which you belong, as defined in federal labor law for reporting and other legal purposes. NOLSW has the primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with applicable laws, and must also comply with UAW policies and procedures.
NOLSW is an “amalgamated” local, which means that it represents units of workers from multiple employers. In fact, NOLSW consists of more than one hundred units, most in legal services and human services programs, and these are located coast to coast. NOLSW is one of only two locals granted jurisdiction within the UAW to organize workers all over the country.
NOLSW’s highest and most democratic decision making authority is the National Joint Council (NJC), held every 18 months.
NOLSW has a national Executive Board composed of the following officers: President, Financial Secretary/ Treasurer, Recording Secretary, National Vice President and Regional Vice Presidents from the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and West Coast regions. These officers are elected by the membership by mail-in ballot for three-year terms: vacancies between elections can be filled by the Executive Board on an interim basis.
There are also Trustees whose duties include reviewing the books of the Union every six months and making a report to the Executive Board. By tradition, the three Trustees have been regional vice presidents.
The basic governance document for NOLSW is its bylaws, available in loose leaf form. As a local of the UAW, NOLSW has no separate constitution of its own.
NOLSW has its own website at www.nolsw.org. Among other things, the website contains a current list of NOLSW officers and staff.
UAW Region 9A
NOLSW members participate in regional activities of the twelve UAW Regions in which they work, and members vote in elections for the Regional Director of the region in which they live. However, for most purposes, including delegates to UAW Constitutional Conventions, we are considered part of Region 9A, because the UAW considers NOLSW to be based in New York City.
Region 9A includes locals from New York City, eastern New York State, New England and Puerto Rico. The regional offices of Region 9A are in Hartford Connecticut. The region is headed by a Regional Director, with a staff that includes importantly a Political Director.
United Auto Workers
The United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) is an International Union headquartered in Detroit Michigan. It has nearly a million members, plus hundreds of thousands of retired members in retiree chapters. Historically based in the big three U.S. automakers – General Motors, Ford and Daimler-Chrysler – the UAW has expanded into areas including technical, office and professional employees in many fields, state employees, writers, lawyers and legal workers, and human services workers.
The basic governance document for the UAW is its constitution, available in booklet form.
The UAW website is www.uaw.org.
The American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations is a coalition of national and international unions, including the UAW. To review the AFL-CIO Constitution, to obtain information about its conventions, or to learn more about the organization, visit their website at www.aflcio.org.