Feb 26, 2021 | News Story

Public Advocate Staffers’ New Union Gains Recognition So They Can Advocate for Themselves

A group of staffers at the public advocate’s office are one step closer to negotiating their first contract as a union, bringing organized labor to one of the last remaining nooks in city government. The city’s Office of Labor Relations last week granted voluntary recognition to the team of 41 non-managerial employees in Public Advocate Jumaane Williams’ office.

The workers, who are represented by the Campaign Workers Guild (CWG), submitted their demand for recognition on Oct. 15, 2020. They filed the petition with OLR after a majority of employees voted to unionize. The labor push began right before the pandemic shuttered the city last March and gained steam when Mayor Bill de Blasio in June threatened to lay off thousands of city workers to close a budget gap. The Public Advocate has been supportive of the unionization effort.

“We realized that the fact that we didn’t have a union made us vulnerable,” said Alex Liao, a policy associate at Williams’ office. “So in that way, the pandemic kind of served as an incentive for us to come together.” Read more in THE CITY.