WBNG Unit Helps Make the Case For Organizing Staff at Nonprofits

One of Local 32035’s newest units is composed of workers for a North Carolina nonprofit, an employer that is among a growing number of such organizations that feature an organized workplace. It’s a win for everyone: Being part of a union, says WBNG member Jeremy Sprinkle, makes it easier for him to be an effective advocate for his – and his employer’s – cause.

Sprinkle is the chairman of the North Carolina AFL-CIO staff unit, which merged into the Washington-Baltimore NewsGuild early in 2016.

In some nonprofits, there’s a stigma around unionizing because of limited resources. But Sprinkle says that these concerns shouldn’t be a deterrent.

“Just because we work for just causes doesn’t mean we don’t deserve just wages, or to have a good life outside of work,” Sprinkle told the Research Triangle-based IndyWeek.com. “If anything, joining a union and having a negotiated contract makes it possible for me to be a more effective advocate for my cause.”

Similar sentiments are voiced at another unionized nonprofit in the nation’s second-least unionized state – just ahead of South Carolina. Workers at the North Carolina Justice Center, a progressive think tank, are represented by the National Organization of Legal Services Workers, an affiliate of the United Auto Workers.

“We wanted to have a formal say in the decision-making process about our own wages, benefits, layoffs, and other working conditions in the organization,” Justice Center union chairperson Marion Johnson told IndyWeek. “We felt like a union was the best way to allow us to have a formal seat at the table when these things were being discussed.”

“The staff at the N.C. Justice Center have long been allies of ours in the fight for economic fairness, so we’re excited to welcome them as members of our state’s labor movement,” state AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer MaryBe McMillan said in a statement. “I hope this inspires other nonprofit employees to organize.”