In an uncertain economy wracked by increasing unemployment, workers at nonprofit organizations are turning to labor unions to help achieve some stability in a world that has become unbalanced. Labor unions are taking this opportunity to increase their membership in an industry that does not have much union representation.
A recent report found that in a 16-day period, seven workplaces launched organizing campaigns with the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU). The NPEU’s bargaining units saw a 35% increase in less than a month.
An industry that is historically underrepresented
Labor unions have had difficulty making inroads in the nonprofit sector. While there are no official statistics, census data estimates that the number of union members in nonprofits ranges from one to three percent.
There have also been allegations of anti-union measures being taken by well-known nonprofits in the past year, including the Southern Poverty Law Center and Amnesty International. Despite these hurdles, the NPEU and the Office and Professional Employees International Union have stepped up their nationwide campaigns to bring more nonprofit employees into the fold.
There are legal protections for unions and workers
Workers who are thinking about organizing should understand their rights. Attorneys who are well-versed in labor law can help both union organizers and nonunion members explore their legal options, from initial organizing efforts to the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements.
Workers have the right to organize and labor unions have the right to campaign on the behalves of workers. A union can help provide some degree of certainty in a rapidly changing world.