Service & Solidarity Spotlight: Austin Pets Alive Workers File to Become Nation’s Largest Animal Shelter Union

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Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our Service & Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Austin Pets Alive (APA) animal shelter employees in Texas filed to form a union with Machinists (IAM) District 776 on Thursday, taking a first step toward creating the largest animal shelter union in the country. Austin Pets Allied Workers (APAW) members are calling for voluntary recognition from management. Their core bargaining goals include implementing policies supporting the well-being and safety of both animals and workers, increasing wages, improving benefits, and codifying fair employment practices.

“I want to join with my co-workers to form a union because workers like me who are on the front lines of animal care deserve to feel safe and supported in our mission-fulfilling work at APA,” said Ryan Martinez, an APA staff member. “I know that a strong union contract negotiated by affected employees is the best way to make that happen, which will ultimately improve conditions for the animals in our care.”