Workers at homeless nonprofit New Avenues for Youth vote union



Workers at nonprofit New Avenues for Youth voted 69 to 12 to join Oregon AFSCME in mail ballots counted May 16. New Avenues For Youth provides meals, rest areas, showers, and internet access to homeless young people, as well as help with getting transitional housing or applying for work. 

Workers asked the National Labor Relations Board Feb. 16 to schedule a union election, but the vote wasn’t tallied until May 16 because under federal labor law the employer gets to haggle with the union over how to run the election. Oregon AFSCME wanted a mail-in vote, but New Avenues For Youth professed to be concerned about lost ballots, ballot fill-out errors, and mail delays. 

“It was kind of mind boggling that they would make an anti mail-in voting argument in a state that has conducted its (general public office) elections that way for at least 23 years,” said union organizing committee member Colin Parker.

To avoid delaying the election until after a hearing on mail vs in-person, the union agreed to an in-person election. 

Parker said many employees work fully remotely or in the field, and only about a third of the workers report to the offices where voting happened. Portland Jobs with Justice helped by transporting workers to the polling places. More than 80% of the 103-member unit voted. 


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