UPDATE – Workers at RAICES TEXAS announced July 7, 2021, that they won voluntary recognition of their union from management of the nonprofit organization. “We hope that management continues negotiating in good faith! We appreciate all y’all’s support, and feel the love and support of our community,” they said.
Staffers at RAICES TEXAS, the largest immigration non-profit in the state, announced March 17 they are forming a union as part of The NewsGuild-CWA. They will become a unit of the Washington-Baltimore Local.
Organizers said that as immigrant rights activists, attorneys, social workers and in many other roles, “we can wholeheartedly say we love our clients.” But the work is exhausting – mentally and physically.
“Currently, staff members – most of whom are women and people of color – do NOT have a seat at the table at RAICES when it comes to salary negotiations (or transparency), benefits or workplace policies,” they said.
As “at-will” employees, employees can be fired – at any time – and for any non-discriminatory reason, with no explanation, rights, or recourse. “We’ve seen it happen. Many times,” organizers said.
“This is our attempt to correct those wrongs, and truly make @RAICESTEXAS the beacon of hope it’s always promised to be for its staff, clients, and the immigrant community at large that it serves,” they said in a tweet. Forming a union will allow staffers to bargain collectively and achieve a legally binding contract.
“In our search for immigrants’ rights, worker rights are just as valid and necessary to help us continue the important labor that we do as RAICES – especially – now, at such a crucial moment in history.”