Solidarity for Good: Joining Together for Fair and Clear Procedures

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Our union, the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU), brings together progressive nonprofit employees with the goal of strengthening the progressive organizations we work so hard for and using solidarity to advocate for the common good. One of our unifying principles is that all employees should be treated fairly in the workplace. As almost every employee knows, differences in treatment by managers can lead to animosity and workplace inequity. We’ve worked to solve issues like this one by coming together to negotiate for clear procedures that create standards for fair and equitable treatment in the workplace. Here are some examples of what we’ve negotiated for to strengthen our organizations:

  • Layoff procedure: When layoffs are taking place, having a union is crucial because it gives employees a seat at the table. With this seat, we have negotiated for processes to deal with layoffs, which includes giving employees notice and severance packages for those affected by the layoffs.
  • Due process: With a union contract, employees have due process rights, like those enshrined in the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution, which requires that employees are notified of their supposed wrong doing or failure, given an opportunity to respond to allegations made against them, and that adjudication is done by a neutral decision-maker. Due process protects our members from unfair actions by their employers.
  • Evaluation Procedures: We have clear, written processes for evaluations and performance reviews. These standardized processes allow for uniform treatment of all employees.
  • Just cause: Without a union contract, many nonprofit employees are “at-will,” meaning their employer can terminate or discipline them at any time for any non-discriminatory reason. With a “just cause” clause a manager cannot discipline or dismiss an employee without a just and fair reason.
  • Progressive discipline systems: A progressive discipline system is a process used when misconduct or performance issues arise. In general, progressive discipline mechanisms require an employee to be notified of their misconduct or performance failure and then the employee is given a period of time to improve.

These procedures act as safeguards against unfair treatment in the workplace. We know from experience that when there are clear, written processes in a workplace employees are happier and the organization runs more effectively. We’ve found that by joining together and standing in solidarity for good is the best way to make changes that allow nonprofits to thrive.

If you and your colleagues are interested in talking to us about how joining together can strengthen your workplace and equalize treatment of employees, please contact us. We’d love to talk!