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Four Adoption Star Workers In Suburban Buffalo Allege They Were Fired For Union Organizing Efforts, Request Public Support For Their Campaign To Achieve Workplace Protections

Published Wednesday, April 27, 2022
by Stars United Organizing Committee
Four Adoption Star Workers In Suburban Buffalo Allege They Were Fired For Union Organizing Efforts, Request Public Support For Their Campaign To Achieve Workplace Protections

(AMHERST, NEW YORK) - Adoption STAR Employees are asking for the public’s support as they pursue a Union Election in order to gain a seat at the table and negotiate wages, conditions, and policies in their workplace, the Workers said. 

The Workers are seeking representation from Buffalo-headquartered Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 1122.

Adoption STAR is a Non-Profit, 501(c)(3) Child Welfare/Adoption Agency in Amherst, just outside Buffalo.  The Adoption STAR philosophy is to provide highly individualized services to support, train, advocate and offer resources to adoptive parents, birth and expectant parents, and community professionals as they explore the adoption option.

The Union Election Campaign was organized by Staff due to a lack of response by the Adoption STAR executive team to address their concerns about cost-sharing for Family Health Insurance Plans, standards across the workforce for parental leave, equitable compensation and proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Employees whose jobs require them to work in hospitals with an elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure.

“My husband and I welcomed our first child in late 2021 and once my maternity leave ended, we decided my husband would stay home with our son,” said Carly Story, an Adoption Social Worker and Family Advocate who’s worked with the agency for 2.5 years.  “After adding them to my insurance, my paycheck was reduced by nearly (50%) as a result of the lack of family plan cost-sharing.  It’s disappointing that as a Child Welfare Agency, Adoption STAR does not contribute to the family health insurance costs of its dedicated Workers.”  

In early April, four Essential Members of the Adoption STAR team who spoke up about COVID-19 exposures, wages and unmanageable caseloads were suddenly terminated and without cause on the same day, the Workers said.

As a result, the Workers said the firings drastically increased the workloads for remaining Staff Members and damaged trust with client relationships and direct service providers.

Each fired Employee was a Member of the Union Organizing Committee, the Workers said.

“Helping professionals are self-sacrificial and care endlessly about our clients.  When we learned so many of us were struggling to figure out how to build or support our own families financially, maintain work-life balance and manage the expectation of COVID exposure without adequate support, we knew we had to organize and make our work sustainable because we care about each other endlessly too,” stated Mo Madden, a terminated Employee, who was employed as a Birth Family Advocate and Health Educator for nearly four years.

As a result, Adoption STAR’s Infant, A-OK, and Compliance Team Members are asking for the community’s support in urging the agency to either recognize the majority they represent for their Union or remain neutral as they pursue a Union Election, as well as reinstate the four Employees who were allegedly and illegally fired under Section 8(a)(1) & (3) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to right the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) Charge committed. 

More information on the STARs United Organizing Committee can be found on their Coworker.org campaign website, and on Facebook, on Instagram and Twitter.

 

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