Fourteen employees of the ACLU of Maryland joined the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 2 on July 31, 2019. The unit, comprised of organizers, attorneys, legal fellows and assistants, and policy specialists spent nine long months building up power and support for the union before they finally won an election with the American Arbitration Association (AAA) the last day of July. The recognition agreement with management and the AAA allowed the unit to technically be voluntarily recognized, albeit through an election.
The ACLU of Maryland is an affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union, a progressive nonprofit that works to preserve and maintain individual freedoms. Staff routinely expressed how important it is for an organization with such dedication to civil liberties to support an employee union, noting, as the ACLU has on their own website, “Collective bargaining statutes provide critical and necessary protection for workers who exercise basic civil rights, in particular, the rights of speech, association, and petition. Efforts to strip workers of these protections have no place in our democracy.”