Contact: Katie Moy Mostris, firstname.lastname@example.org
APALA Management and Staff Union Ratifies Groundbreaking Union Contract!
Washington, DC - APALA is proud to reach an agreement with OPEIU Local 2 to ratify the organization’s first staff union contract. The contract includes pay increases and guaranteed raises; alternatives to carceral practices in the workplace; added protections and benefits for LGBTQ, immigrant workers, and workers of color; and so much more.
The staff union was voluntarily recognized in the last months of 2020. They join the growing movement of nonprofit and staff union workers who are organizing their workplaces. It is noteworthy that all members of the union are Asian American, the racial group with the lowest rates of unionization. APALA is the first of the six constituency groups affiliated with the AFL-CIO to have unionized staff. This contract will increase all bargaining unit member salaries by $10,000 and guarantees 5% salary increases each year of the contract moving staff forward in line with rising inflation.
Vivian Chang (APALA Civic Engagement & Racial Justice Director) and Kristina Romines (APALA Economic Justice & Capacity Building Director), OPEIU Local 2 and members of the bargaining committee, “We are incredibly proud of our first contract and the groundbreaking language we implemented to make APALA a better workplace for all workers. Every worker needs a union, including employees at non-profits or in offices, and we are proud to be a part of our OPEIU family.”
APALA National Executive Board Secretary and Management’s Chief Negotiator Sandra Engle, UAW said, “The bottom line is non-profits have to practice what we preach. We are proud to settle our first contract with our dedicated staff and look forward to continuing to collaborate to create a more democratic workplace. We hope our contract serves as a model to other employers negotiating their first agreement on how to incorporate our values and protect our most vulnerable workers.”
Some of the highlights of ways the contract protects marginalized identities include:
- implements a 32-hour workweek for all staff;
- Provides the bargaining unit $500 total per year in financial assistance for new bargaining-unit employees and/or interns who request it for purposes of purchasing business casual or traditional business attire.
- Institutes a gender non-specific dress code and prioritizes venues that provide gender-neutral restrooms and/or private bathrooms that provide greater degrees of privacy;
- Calls for a gender equity audit and assessment of division of labor (e.g. pattern of note taking by a specific gender);
- Provides up to $1,000 to any employee who is seeking immigration, citizenship, or visa assistance; prohibits APALA from sharing employee information with ICE nor facilitating the deportation or detention of any employee; and provides employees paid working days to attend immigration proceedings related to the employee and/or the employee’s family (family as defined by the employee);
- Requires an annual training for all staff and board members on mental health accommodations using a framework of disability justice, nonviolent communication; learning and communication styles;
- Creates a remediation process that prioritizes understanding, acknowledging harm and the needs that result from harm, and developing agreements that increase trust and safety, rather than focus solely on legalistic processes when it comes to addressing conduct issues;
- Requires APALA to review partnerships and investments with the purpose of divesting from fossil fuels, policing and prisons;
The Management team included board members Sandra Engle, Jason Chan, Tiffany Hsieh, and Executive Director Alvina Yeh. The Bargaining Committee included OPEIU union representatives Juanita Bowman and Jessica Maiorca, and APALA staff Vivian Chang, Michelle Loo, Kristina Romines, and Maggie Tsai.
Founded in 1992, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO, is the first and only national organization of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) workers, most of whom are union members and our allies, building power for AAPI workers and communities.