Queens Public Defenders Push to Unionize. Management Calls Them a ‘Mob.’

Queens Public Defenders Push to Unionize. Management Calls Them a ‘Mob.’
Last month, Queens Defenders employees announced their plan to organize under the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (ALAA), an affiliate of the United Auto Workers that represents workers at legal nonprofits. Ninety percent of eligible employees signed union authorization cards signaling their support.
 
Management at Queens Defenders has since refused to voluntarily recognize the union, beginning a potentially months-long process that will culminate in an election administered by the National Labor Relations Board. During a two-hours-plus video conference Monday, Queens Defenders co-founder and executive director Lori Zeno attempted to dissuade employees from unionizing by accusing the union of being a “mob-like group” that uses “threats,” “coercion” and “manipulation” in its organizing efforts. Her presentation was “straight out of the union-busting 101 playbook,” said Alexi Shalom, ALAA’s lead organizer on the campaign. 

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