Southern Poverty Law Center files for union representation

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Staff at the Southern Poverty Law Center — a historic Civil Rights organization advancing social justice through legal, educational and advocacy efforts primarily in the Deep South — are forming a union.

A supermajority of employees spanning SPLC’s 11 offices across five states and Washington, D.C., today filed a union election petition with the National Labor Relations Board requesting representation by the Washington-Baltimore News Guild, Local 32035 of The News Guild-Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO.

The SPLC Union organizing committee is calling on SPLC leadership to stand by the principles that animate the nonprofit — equity, justice and diversity — by voluntarily recognizing the Union and respecting employees’ call for deep and lasting engagement in the future of the Center.

“We ask SPLC’s senior leaders to respect the desire of its dedicated employees to form a union and have a say in what the future of the Center looks like,” the committee said. “Current leadership has committed itself to the task of changing SPLC’s workplace culture. Collective bargaining ensures workers the opportunity to play a leading role in this transformation.”

“Forty years after the Greensboro Massacre, we hope to rekindle the flame of labor organizing in the Deep South and form a strong union at SPLC that lays the foundation for a legacy of equal rights, respect and dignity for all workers, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical ability, and national origin.”

Washington-Baltimore News Guild Organizing Director Bruce Jett said, “The Washington-Baltimore News Guild supports — and is proud to represent — SPLC staff. Workers rights are human rights. Today, a supermajority of SPLC’s workforce took a historic step toward upholding and protecting those rights.”

The News Guild filed the petition in Baltimore, Md., this morning. The organizing committee awaits the response of SPLC’s senior leadership and stands ready to work together with management and begin negotiating the organization’s first contract.

To contact the SPLC Union, email us at or find us on Twitter @SPLCUnion.

To contact Bruce Jett with the Washington-Baltimore News Guild, call 703-627-4547 or e-mail

Find the Washington-Baltimore News Guild on Twitter @WBNG32035.