Be it understood that both unions, ALAA & 1199, representing the attorney and non-attorney staff respectively, stand in solidarity with each other during contract negotiations with the employer, The Legal Aid Society. The cleaving of Legal Aid Society legal workers into two different unions stands apart from the norm of legal workers who are represented wall-to-wall in a single union. This has contributed to stark differences, for instance, a comparison of wage scales across legal aid providers in New York City, particularly with those that are wall-to-wall unions, shows that Legal Aid are among the lowest paid workers. As such, we must actively overcome the obstacles of being in two different unions and resist management’s further efforts to divide us by standing together so that we all get the wages and rights we deserve.
LAS non-attorney staff have been left behind more than a decade ago in their wages and benefits in comparison to non-attorney staff at other legal aid providers in New York City. LAS also continues to under pay its attorney staff, particularly the younger staff which are among the lowest paid for all legal services. However, we are currently in a unique position, as the city has committed to pay parity with corp counsel which presents a new opportunity to increase the wages and benefits of all workers at LAS. This will begin to get us at an adequate level of compensation.
For the successful achievement of each union’s contract proposals, for the support of ALAA’s & 1199’s Negotiation Committees in their negotiations with LAS, the strongest of solidarity between the two unions is necessary. To this end, we agree that we will actively campaign and stand in solidarity with our partner union, as well as establish a joint 1199/ALAA committee to coordinate actions and efforts between the two unions to ensure each union gets the best contract possible. We understand that our working conditions are intertwined with our partner union and that solidarity between our unions is critical in achieving a fair contract for both of our unions.