The idea to unionize took shape last summer. And it didn’t happen at a big company, school or hospital, but a more unexpected place: a small nonprofit organization.
Employees at an Austin-based think tank, the Center for Public Policy Priorities, started meeting after work to figure out how they could improve their workplace. Some workers felt there was an incongruity between the think tank’s advocacy on issues such as health care, living wages and public benefits, and the way it treated its employees, according to Amanda Posson, one of the union organizers.
On Tuesday, workers at the Center for Public Policy Priorities formally opted to join a union, voting unanimously to be represented by the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union.
While generally union participation has been declining, union efforts at nonprofit entities are a bright spot for the labor movement and are the latest sign of growing momentum. Nonprofit workers, centered in the District but also in states such as California, Maryland, Alabama, and New York, have helped swell the NPEU’s ranks 30 percent over the past year. The staffs of five nonprofits opted to join the NPEU in 2019, bringing the total number of groups it represents to 19 nonprofits, or 350 members.
Here is a previous Think Tank Watch piece about various efforts by think tanks to unionize.