United Automobile Workers

May 22 2024

Legal Worker Union Ratifies Contract Offer, Calling to End Historic 13-Week Strike

Mobilization for Justice Union Celebrates Monumental Gains for Lowest Paid Workers, Expanded Workplace Protections, and No Givebacks

 

New York, NY – On Monday, 72% of participating union members at Mobilization for Justice (MFJ) voted to ratify the contract offer presented by MFJ Management last week. Pending MFJ Board ratification, this agreement will conclude the Union’s nearly three-month strike — the longest NYC legal services strike since 1991 — with major victories including double digit raises for MFJ’s lowest paid workers.

“We presented contract demands to Management in November, aiming to promote racial and economic justice by lifting wages, sustaining healthcare, and improving workplace equity,” said Union Bargaining Team member and paralegal Ella Abeo. “Management responded with demands for givebacks, antagonistic counter-offers, and repeated violations of their duty to bargain in good faith. Striking was our only option to compel them to honor MFJ’s mission.”

The Union’s recent pressure campaign on MFJ’s funders and other stakeholders led to Management meeting several core Union demands, including a starting base salary of $60,000. This sector-leading victory results in a 17% raise for administrative staff and a 13% raise for paralegals. Law graduates will receive an 18% raise, while other staff—including attorneys, social workers, and specialists—will receive a 4% increase for 2024. All unionized staff will receive 3% annual raises in 2025 and 2026, along with a one-time ratification bonus.

The strike expanded protections for the Union’s most vulnerable members. Management will offer full-time union positions to two workers initially hired through temp agencies, including one who was unjustly fired for asserting her union rights. The agreement also ensures enhanced due process for disciplinary cases and equitable remote work policies for all workers.

The Union preserved its health care plan with no premiums and retained the right to veto changes by Management. Additionally, there were no givebacks on sick leave and vacation accrual.

Union members formed strike committees and used direct actions, boycotts, and relentless picketing to pressure Management into a fair agreement. “Management pushed us, but we pushed back harder,” said Abeo. “This strike shows that when workers unite, we will win.”

# # #

Media Contacts:  MFJ Union, (973) 932-0896, (646) 543-9656, mfjunioncomms@gmail.com                     

JF:sr:opeiu494afl-cio

Contact Information

Jonah Furman
UAW
847-903-2376
jfurman@uaw.net

Feldman Strategies, team@feldmanstrategies.com