Service & Solidarity Spotlight: Legal Worker Union Ratifies Contract Offer After Historic 13-Week Strike

Mobilization for Justice

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.

Last week, 72% of participating union members at Mobilization for Justice (MFJ) voted to ratify a new contract, which will end the union’s nearly three-month strike—the longest New York City legal services strike since 1991—upon ratification by the MFJ Board.

MFJ Union is part of the Legal Services Staff Association, a unit of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) and covers attorneys, paralegals, social workers and other staff. The new agreement secured major victories, including many of the unit’s core demands like double-digit raises for MFJ’s lowest paid workers, improved benefits and expanded workplace protections. Members were forced to strike after management responded to their offers with demands for givebacks, antagonistic counter-proposals and repeated violations of their duty to bargain in good faith. Workers held the picket line for months to force the nonprofit legal services and advocacy organization to honor its own mission and values.

“It’s disappointing that MFJ Management put its staff and clients through months of unnecessary hardship when it was in their power to meet these demands all along,” said Brenden Ross, a bargaining committee member and staff attorney in MFJ’s Mental Health Law Project. “But they underestimated us. Our members fought hard, had each other’s backs, and we won an incredible contract.”