The National Labor Relations Board has recognized Say Si, an after-school art program, as a union and it’s ready to begin working with board members.
The unionizing process began in October of last year, but union members said it’s been a multi-month and challenging process to be recognized.
Say Si Union members said they were surprised the board did not accept the union voluntarily, instead hiring a law firm, they say, is known for working against unions.
“We don’t have the capacity to be that aggressive. I don’t have $50,000 to throw to law firm to represent me,” theater director Amalia Ortiz said.
Union members are now developing a worker’s contract to present to the board sometime next month. Worker’s compensation is one of the issues that will be discussed.
“We have money to do arts programming, that is second to none in the United States, but we don’t have money to pay the workers to have it done,” visual arts director Ashley Perez said.
Workers said they would also like to be involved in future programming that the board proposes.
“In order to create healthy programming, you need to know the perspective of the people in the trenches,” Perez said.
Say Si board members released the following statement in response to the worker’s union being officially recognized.
“The Board of Directors are glad that the NLRB has made their determination and we fully support their decision regarding those eligible for the union. We have been working with the union representative to establish first dates for bargaining and are looking forward to beginning this process.”
After-school programming has not been impacted by the unionizing process.