Policy Matters announces first union contract
Posted April 01, 2021 in Press Releases
Staff proud to stand in solidarity with frontline workers
Since our founding 21 years ago, Policy Matters Ohio has valued the role unions play in creating workplace democracy, advancing equity and affirming the dignity of work. Today, we are proud to announce the ratification of our first contract with staff, represented by Workers United Policy Matters Ohio, part of the Chicago and Midwest Regional Joint Board of Service Employees International Union.
On behalf of Policy Matters, executive director Hannah Halbert said, “As an organization we are committed to living our values. Collective bargaining and worker power are essential components of making Ohio a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable state. I’m proud of the agreement we have built together.”
“I’m proud of the trailblazing contract negotiated at Policy Matters, an agreement that I hope can be a model for union management relations in a nonprofit setting,” Policy Matters Board Chair Jeff Rechenbach said. “Workers and management both recognized the value of formalizing a voice on the job and the positive environment it creates for everyone at Policy Matters.”
On behalf of the union, researcher Michael Shields said, “As researchers and advocates dedicated to making Ohio a place where everyone can thrive, we are so proud to join the movement that has done more than any other to empower working people. Organized labor won the 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, and safer workplaces. Unionized workers have demanded a racially inclusive vision of economic justice, and improved pay equity for workers, no matter their race or gender. Today, unionized teachers demand class sizes that give schoolchildren the attention they need, and working people demand that their companies address the climate crisis.
“Our union represents a growing number of people who work for nonprofit organizations, but traces its history to the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire. One hundred and forty-six workers — most of them young immigrant women — died when managers locked them in. Backed by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, they went on strike two years prior to win better wages and hours, but were still demanding a safe workplace when the fire broke out. We chose Workers United — the SEIU affiliate that grew out of ILGWU — in part for its empowerment of workers who are among the most exploited. As workers at Policy Matters, we have always advocated policies that expand opportunities and improve the lives of people who are paid low wages. That work takes on new meaning as our sisters and brothers include workers on the frontlines in the pandemic.
“We are fortunate to work for an organization that values the dignity of work and recognizes the role unions have played in creating broadly shared prosperity. So when we came to the table, there was respect for the process — and each other — on both sides.
“We know that not all working people are so fortunate. Our union sisters and brothers have faced down threats and intimidation campaigns just to assert their right to a voice on the job. We honor their courage and take great pride in standing beside them.”