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Following months of delays and stalling by management, employees at the Downtown Brooklyn homeless and HIV/AIDS nonprofit Housing Works will finally be able to vote to unionize in the coming weeks.
Labor organizers and Housing Works management have signed a new agreement that paves the way to hold an election by mail with ballots going out starting Nov. 20 and due back Dec. 14. A leader with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union — which organized the union drive for Housing Works — said it was about time workers can cast their vote.
“It’s been a long long time,” said RWDSU organizer Adam Obernauer. “Let’s hope that there’s no last-minute pushback this time. We’re just looking forward to actually having a vote and workers having a say in the process.”
The announcement comes after a year-long battle ever since workers first walked out of their offices in October 2019 to address a wide range of workplace concerns, including too high caseloads, shoddy healthcare plans, and insufficient paid time-off policies. The nonprofit, founded in the 1990s, provides support for some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS and experiencing homelessness. It also operates several thrift stores around the city and a bookshop and café in Manhattan to fund its services.