Jul 2, 2021 | News Story

Brooklyn Defender Services Staff Announce Formation of Wall-to-Wall Union

Staff members of Brooklyn Defender Services (“BDS”), a non-profit public defender organization in Kings County, this week announced the formation of the BDS Union as a chapter of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (“ALAA”) – UAW Local 2325. An overwhelming, decisive majority of non-managerial workers across practice areas and roles has signed cards indicating support for unionization. The union is now calling on BDS Management to immediately recognize the union, refrain from an anti-union campaign, and begin bargaining with for a fair contract that addresses the needs of all staff.

BDS attorneys and social workers first petitioned for union recognition in 2016. Management responded with an aggressive anti-union campaign and promises of a more democratic and supportive workplace; aided by the fact that the 2016 effort was not inclusive of all workers, management was ultimately able to erode sufficient union support to prevent the vote from succeeding. Now, five years later, workers are building off the groundwork of the 2016 campaign while recognizing its flaws. Just as every worker at BDS plays a vital role in the service the organization provides, every worker’s voice is vital in building a better BDS.

"As one of the only non-unionized public defender offices in the five boroughs, we know that joining our sister offices across New York City as part of the ALAA will only strengthen our office, empowering us to both fight for our colleagues and to collaboratively advocate for our clients," the union said in a statement. "We are excited to have a role in the next phase of public defense in New York City and to build a healthy, democratic workplace that supports all of us." Read the full statement here and check out coverage in the NY Daily News!