Employees at BioBus in New York voted unanimously to join the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 153 on Friday, January 29. The unit comprises community scientists, drivers, and workers in development, IT, and more. Employees spent four months building strength among coworkers before filing for an election in December 2020. On January 29, the group won union representation and the right to collectively bargain. They will join thousands of nonprofit employees across the country represented by OPEIU’s Nonprofit Employees United (NEU).

BioBus, a science education nonprofit, works to help minority, female, and low-income students across New York City explore and pursue science through mobile labs, internships, and support with scientific research projects. Employees at BioBus began organizing their union in September 2020, looking to improve compensation, increase professional development opportunities, and have a say in standardizing work procedures at the growing organization. Li Murphy, a community scientist at BioBus and a member of the union’s organizing committee, notes, “Unionizing allows our nonmanagerial staff to give a collective vote of confidence in the organization’s future. We now all have the logistical and legal grounds to lift each other up and hold each other accountable to our mission-centric work.”

The newest members of Local 153 are celebrating their unanimous victory and the protections and bargaining rights they’ve gained by unionizing. Marina Delgado, another community scientist and organizing committee member, reflects, “I’m so excited to feel valued fully as a member of this organization—and to enact the same protections for every member of this organization, regardless of their education level or anything else.” As the workers prepare to negotiate their first contract, they are looking forward to building a more sustainable, equitable workplace. Li Murphy says, “Long-term equity and security for our staff who directly support and are embedded in the communities this organization serves are my big priorities as I think about the voice I have in this first contract.”

OPEIU Local 153 is excited to welcome employees from BioBus into its membership that spans the tristate area. The newest union members at BioBus strengthen the growing network of nonprofit workers joining OPEIU in Nonprofit Employees United (NEU). The union also represents employees at the City Bar Justice Center, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Casa Latina, and the ACLU of Maryland.

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.