Update – Feb. 3, 2022 – Members of the Justice at Work Staff Union announced on Feb. 2 that they had won voluntary recognition of their union.
Staff members of Justice at Work Pennsylvania, a legal aid nonprofit that supports low-wage workers, announced Thursday that they are unionizing with The NewsGuild. They will become part of The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia Local 38010.
“We believe that all workers deserve a say in their work; we fight for our clients to have that say, and we believe we should have a say in our own work too,” staffers said.
The Justice at Work Staff Union (JAWSU) will include paralegals, administrative staff, and attorneys.
“My experiences navigating the immigration system from a young age inspired my commitment to social justice, and I chose to work at Justice at Work to continue to advocate for my community,” said Cinthia Ibarra, an employment paralegal.
“Low-wage, immigrant workers are not just clients to me; they are my family and friends, and I personally know the value of legal advocacy and community outreach. By unionizing at Justice at Work, we will lead by example, demonstrating that workers deserve a say in their work.”
Attorney Lerae Kroon said, “I view my primary role as empowering workers by providing tools like knowledge of their rights, legal advice, and access to justice systems.
“Empowering myself and my colleagues by joining together in collective action to create a more equitable workplace is a natural extension of that role.”
Evy Tolentino, an immigration paralegal, said, “As an organization dedicated to helping workers achieve lasting change in their communities, I believe racial diversity, equity and inclusion starts with us. Unionizing is a step in that direction for the staff of Justice at Work.”
JAWSU is seeking voluntary recognition by management of the Justice at Work, which has been serving low-wage workers for more than 40 years.