In an unprecedented organizing achievement, interns at the Washington, DC headquarters of the American Federation of Teachers have overwhelmingly voted to unionize, forming the first non-medical intern union in the U.S. The decision to organize with OPEIU Local 2 reflects the growing trend in the use of intern labor to replace entry-level jobs for young workers. Interns, not all of whom are students, are usually unpaid or paid very little, and receive no health insurance. Noting that “the labor movement has always dedicated itself to setting a higher standard for working conditions and improving workers’ lives,” Local 2 said “It is now time for the movement to lead by example by allowing interns and all contingent, temporary workers to organize, have a voice at the table, and bargain a fair contract.” With a union, interns can now advocate for better salaries and schedules, as well as professional development, said Local 2, adding that “this groundbreaking event is an opportunity for interns and young workers in and beyond the labor movement to expand skills and opportunities by having a voice at the table.”
- Sivan Rosenthal
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