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Statement from the Joseph's House Union Organizing Committee

June 7, 2022

TROY, NY – Last week, Joseph’s House and Shelter’s Executive Director, Kevin O’Connor, declined to voluntarily recognize the union of the non-profit organization’s approximately 80 workers. In response, the union organizing committee releases the following statement:

“We are disappointed that Joseph’s House and Shelter’s management refuses to voluntarily recognize our union with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 200United. Voluntary recognition of our union is consistent with our mission to provide non-judgmental services to our guests and tenants while treating them with dignity and respect.

When we initially delivered our request for voluntary recognition to our Executive Director, Kevin O’Connor, he committed to not interfering with our right to organize. The decision not to recognize our union is to interfere with our right to organize.

We represent a majority of the Joseph’s House workforce who believe we urgently need a seat at the table to address health and safety issues for both their own safety and for our guests and tenants. Our organization is understaffed and experiencing increasingly high turnover. Staff are not provided the necessary training and professional development to be successful. When these issues and concerns are raised to our directors, they often go unaddressed. For example, at Joseph’s House’s Lansing Inn location, a number of tenants have died in the past few months that could have been prevented. Another tenant nearly died of an overdose because there was no available Narcan on site.

We requested voluntary recognition because the situation is dire and will only get worse if our issues and concerns as frontline workers continue to be left unresolved. By forcing us to file for an election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), management is unnecessarily prolonging the process and perpetuating these health and safety issues. While we plan to file for an election soon, which we are confident that we will win, we hope Kevin O’Connor, Joseph’s House management and its board of directors will reconsider their decision for the safety of its workers, our volunteers, and, most importantly, our guests and tenants.”