The Stand

Plymouth Housing employees form union with OPEIU Local 8

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SEATTLE (Oct. 8, 2014) — By an overwhelming margin, Seattle-based Plymouth Housing Group employees voted to form a union with Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU) Local 8 on Tuesday, after a multi-day election process conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.

Plymouth Housing Group employees hold the NLRB Tally of Ballots certifying their win.

Members of the Union Organizing Committee at Plymouth Housing Group hold the NLRB Tally of Ballots certifying their win. (L-R) Paul Rosenthal, Meghan Rowley, Kristina Grotts and JJ Stein.

The group of 80 case managers, building assistants and coordinators, janitors and other employees join with hundreds of Local 8 members in social and housing services working to improve standards for all non-profit front-line staff.

“Our strong vote count today shows that this had been a long time coming,” said PHG janitor John Blanks. “For workers at an organization like Plymouth, which has a reputation for helping others, this will ensure we will now have the opportunity to make improvements for ourselves.”

Plymouth Housing Group is a non-profit organization that provides permanent, supportive homes to homeless people with few other options for housing. More than 1,000 formerly-homeless adults live in 13 Plymouth residential apartment buildings in the downtown Seattle area. Another 600 have found a home in Seattle/King County through Plymouth’s Shelter Plus Care Program, a federal housing program Plymouth administers for King County.

The right to have a voice to ensure safe working conditions, livable wages, promotion opportunities, and many other issues united Plymouth workers in their effort to form their union.

“We voted to have a union so our opinions and ideas are heard, because we’re the ones working directly with our tenants on a daily basis. When we’re empowered, we’re in a better position to empower others,” said Housing Case Manager Meghan Rowley.

opeiu8OPEIU Local 8 represents more than 5,000 members all over Washington state working in many settings including offices, health and home care, housing, social services, the insurance industry, legal services and the public sector. For more information, visit www.opeiu8.org.

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