Pro-democracy nonprofit Scholars Strategy Network hires union-busting law firm to fight staff union
Management at the pro-democracy organization the Scholars Strategy Network (SSN) has hired the prominent union-busting law firm Ogletree Deakins to represent them against their staff’s union, reports the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU).
This comes after SSN Director Theda Skocpol refused to voluntarily recognize the SSN Union, forcing SSN staff to file for a union election with the Trump National Labor Relations Board. SSN staff are unionizing with NPEU.
“It’s absolutely disgusting that an organization dedicated to ‘strengthening democracy’ would go to such great lengths to suppress its staff’s union. If management valued a democratic workplace, they would recognize their staff’s union immediately, instead of seeking counsel from a notoriously anti-worker law firm,” said NPEU President Kayla Blado. “We call on SSN to fire Ogletree Deakins and immediately recognize their staff’s union.”
Ogletree Deakins was also recently hired to bust the staff union at the ACLU of Kansas. After an outpouring of support from allies of the staff’s union, ACLU Kansas United, the firm was fired by ACLU of Kansas management.
SSN is a Cambridge, Mass. based nonprofit that is dedicated to “advancing democracy and research-based policy solutions” by connecting researchers at universities across the country to journalists, civic leaders, and public officials. NPEU says that SSN staff organized the SSN Union “because they believe in the organization’s mission and want to make it better with a more effective, democratic workplace.”
Over 100 academics affiliated with SSN demanded voluntary recognition of SSN Union, but Skocpol has ignored the requests. NPEU members are employed at 29 nonprofits in addition to SSN, and management at all 29 other organizations have recognized their staffs’ unions or are in the process of recognition.
“Unions give employees a voice and create more democratic decision-making. They also promote more collaborative and productive workplaces,” said Blado. “Most nonprofit managers understand these benefits, which is why all NPEU members’ management have voluntarily recognized their staffs’ unions until now. Shame on Theda Skocpol and the rest of SSN management for trying to deny SSN staff their workplace rights.”