Lambda Legal staffers vote overwhelmingly to form a union

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Employees at the LGBT legal group Lambda Legal voted Friday on an overwhelming 42-8 basis in favor of forming a union with the Washington-Baltimore News Guild.

The vote was counted after employees filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board as part of the process to unionize. As the Washington Blade reported earlier this month, Lambda Legal staffers sought to form a union amid complaints over cuts to benefits and high turnover at the organization.

Alexis Paige, a legal assistant in the Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal and one of the leaders in the organizing effort, said in a statement the organization’s staffers “stood up for ourselves and one another.”

“Today’s election is the direct result of hard work and unwavering commitment to each other and Lambda Legal,” Paige said. “Because of that hard work and commitment, we will have a seat at the table when the decisions that directly affect our lives are being made. We call on Lambda Legal leadership to join us at the table in good faith to negotiate a mutually agreeable contract that aligns with Lambda Legal’s ideals and moves the organization forward.”

One source familiar with the workplace environment at Lambda Lagal said much of the staffer discontent was directed toward the leadership of Rachel Tiven, who took over as CEO last year.

Tiven said in statement Lambda Legal will continue to work with staffers under the new union arrangement.

“Our staff has always been our most valuable asset in our mission to win full civil rights for all LGBT people and everyone living with HIV,” Tiven said. “We look forward to working together to continue strengthening Lambda Legal and the work we do every day.”

Paige said the next steps consist of working with the union “to agree on our priorities and negotiate a contract for our unit.”

“We are looking forward to building a strong union that is inclusive and truly representative of our staff and our interests, and to a productive and respectful relationship with our leadership,” Paige said. “We did it — now let’s move forward together.”

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