National Endowment for Democracy employees celebrating their union

This week, 430 nonprofit employees from across the country joined together to become members of Nonprofit Employees United (NEU), an initiative of OPEIU. These nonprofit professionals include employees of San Francisco-Marin Food Bank (SFMFB), YouthCare in Seattle, and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Washington, D.C. They join the growing trend of employees at nonprofit organizations unionizing to gain a say in their organization, increase transparency, and raise workplace standards.

The 150 employees of the international grant-making organization NED joined OPEIU Local 2 and NEU on Oct. 31. NED staff formed a union to improve transparency and live the democratic values they promote in their work.

“It’s been so meaningful to be a small part of the organizing effort and to put my values into practice in the workplace. I’m so proud of the work we’ve done to make this happen,” said NED employee and NEU member Alex Steiner. “We’re excited to see how collective bargaining will make a difference at the place we work everyday.”

YouthCare employees celebrating their union victory

YouthCare employees who assist homeless youth in Seattle voted overwhelmingly to join OPEIU Local 8 this week, making them members of NEU. The 180 youth counselors, case managers, education and employment specialists, on-call staff, outreach workers, development employees and other nonprofit professionals are focused on improving equity, transparency, and gaining a say in their organization’s decisions. These workplace improvements will help them better serve the young people they work with.

“I stand with my coworkers in our union because it brings unity and balance into our working community,” said YouthCare employee and NEU member Niki Sebatware.

“I am excited to give everyone a voice to ultimately advocate to better serve our youth,” said YouthCare program coordinator and NEU member Emily Penna.

San Francisco-Marin Food Bank employees and OPEIU Organizer Andom Kahsay

SFMFB staff joined together to form a union with OPEIU Local 29 to become NEU members. The 100 program coordinators, drivers, intake specialists and other SFMFB employees provide critical services in an effort to end hunger in San Francisco and Marin, Calif. They unionized for more transparency and the ability to participate in more decisions that impact the community.

“In forming our union, the Food Bank staff gain a stronger voice in our workplace and community. We want to ensure our that colleagues, who are experts in their fields, feel empowered to voice their ideas and have an opportunity to see their impact,” said Edith Cadena, SFMFB program coordinator and NEU member. “Through our union we’ll prioritize and advocate for creating real solutions to the issues and challenges we and our communities face.”

Employees at nonprofit organizations all over the country continue to join together in union. In April, the staff at the international development organization PartnersGlobal in Washington, D.C. joined together in union to become NEU members. The 180 attorneys, paralegals, and other employees of the Northwest Justice Project ratified their first OPEIU/NEU union contract, which included pay increases and updated benefits, in December 2018.

As members of NEU, nonprofit employees can strengthen their organizations and create sustainable careers. Contact us if you are interested in forming a union in your workplace.