After working nearly a year without a contract, the 270 members of the Legal Services Staff Association, United Auto Workers Local 2320, who work at Legal Services NYC, voted 173 to 13 to strike on May 15. They set up picket lines in all five boroughs, where they help the most vulnerable poor and elderly people deal with civil issues such as housing.
Though LSSA made a last-minute offer to share the cost of health care and forgo a wage increase, management refused to budge from making severe cuts in health care coverage and retirement benefits. It’s estimated that monthly health care costs will rise to $450, or $5,400 a year.
In an open letter to management posted on Facebook on April 29, LSSA asserted that “there is no financial necessity for the benefit reductions demanded by management’s team.” Management has also refused to offer job security protections in exchange for job cuts, because it wants to be able to lay off frontline case handlers and support staff while protecting its bloated management structure.
WW stands in solidarity with the union’s slogan on its website: “I support Legal Services NYC workers’ demand for a fair contract.” (lssa2320.org)