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Staff At Asian Americans For Equality Announce Union Drive

Published Monday, October 21, 2019
by Alexi Shalom/
Staff At Asian Americans For Equality Announce Union Drive

(NEW YORK CITY) - Staff Members at the Asian Americans For Equality (AAFE) have announced their intent to join the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2325.

An overwhelming majority of AAFE Staff Members have signed cards to show their support for Unionization.  The 20 Staff Members, who are primarily Social Service Caseworkers, provide immigration advice, health care navigation, and youth, college and job development advice and tenant assistance. The AAFE is based in multiple locations in Queens and Manhattan/Chinatown. 

AAFE Staff also expressed their desire to avoid a lengthy National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Election and instead begin directly bargaining with management.

The Staff Members’ concerns include fair compensation, transparency and accountability, benefits and Staff investment, and client justice.

The Staff also hope to encourage changes to case staffing that maximize AAFE’s ability to advocate for clients, as the organization grows to meet surging demand for its services.  

“We love AAFE and we wish to be part of the AAFE family for as long as possible” said Lillian Cheung, Immigration Counselor at the Flushing Office.  “In order to show respect to the Staff, AAFE should take care of us.” 

“We are forming a Union because we deserve better compensation and our clients deserve the best possible services” said Avigail Aviles, a Tenant Counselor at the Jackson Heights office.

“Since I’ve worked here, we have had consistent staff turnover which severely impacts the quality of our work and programs” said Jessie Ngok, an Office of New Americans Navigator at the Flushing Office. “We need pay and benefits that are sustainable and support our growth.”

Association of Legal Aid Attorneys /UAW Local 2325 President Jared Trujillo said: “We enthusiastically welcome Asians Americans for Equality to join the thousands of Non-Profit and Legal Services Workers around the country in our Union Family.  Just as AAFE Staff fight every day for the communities that they come from, they deserve to stand up for themselves to create a better workplace.  Unionization in direct services non-profits is not only critical to the empowerment of Union Members, but to the improvement of client representation.  We call on AAFE management to immediately recognize the overwhelming desire of its Employees to join together in a Union.”

AAFE’s Union Drive comes at a time of intensified organizing to improve working conditions for Public Service Professionals, who are often compensated significantly less than their private-sector counterparts.

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