OAKLAND, CA (May 16, 2022) – Employees at Impact Justice (IJ) overwhelmingly voted to form a union with the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 29 on May 13, joining thousands of nonprofit employees across the country represented by OPEIU's Nonprofit Employees United (NEU).
Their union, Impact Justice United (IJU), sought voluntary recognition from the organization's leadership in February, but after management's concerted attempts to stall and disrupt the process of good-faith negotiations, the bargaining unit filed for an election with the NLRB. Ultimately, a near-unanimous majority (23-3) of eligible employees voted to unionize to make their workplace a more equitable, collaborative and safe environment.
"Having worked at Impact Justice for more than four years, I have seen many employees struggle to change systemic issues within our organization," Kaid Ray-Tipton, a senior program associate at IJ, said. "I see Impact Justice United as a continuation of previous efforts to ensure our daily practices are living up to our core values of imagination, integrity and liberation.”
The energy members of the bargaining unit invested in organizing with their colleagues is symbolic of their commitment to the mission of Impact Justice, which brought many of them to IJ in the first place. Forming a union strengthens the collective pursuit of a humane and restorative system of justice in the United States by starting with economic justice in the workplace.
"Our commitment to IJU serves as a powerful buffer against the harmful practices our organization has adopted, like many other nonprofits, part and parcel of the nonprofit industrial complex," said Bry Law, a program coordinator at the organization. "This vote signifies the majority of Impact Justice staff have hope our organization can better reflect the world we are actively looking to build, but we know it can only happen if all employees have a seat and a voice at the table."
Former employees also weighed in on what unionization means for IJ workers. "Their union will be critical to Impact Justice's long-term sustainability and success," said Christopher Dokko, former research analyst at IJ. "Until now, the organization's policies and structures insufficiently valued or supported staff, driving many dedicated, mission-aligned employees to leave this important work behind.
"Today's win is the first step toward cultivating a new working culture that meaningfully attracts, maintains and grows its staff in ways that fully accord with its mission of dignity and justice for all."