YouthCare employees in Seattle form union with OPEIU 8

The following is from OPEIU Local 8:

SEATTLE (Nov. 1, 2019) — Employees at YouthCare have voted overwhelmingly for representation by the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 8, the union announced Thursday.

The group of 180 youth counselors, case managers, education and employment specialists, on-call staff, outreach workers, development staff and other classifications in Seattle are devoted to providing critical services including shelter, housing, employment and education to more than 1,000 young people each year.

They sought to unionize to ensure greater equity and transparency and to have the ability to participate more fully in decisions that impact the community they serve. The YouthCare employees join thousands of nonprofit employees across the country represented by OPEIU’s Nonprofit Employees United (NEU).

“I’ve seen so many amazing youth workers leave YouthCare because they didn’t feel heard,” said Emily Penna, Program Coordinator. “I am excited to give everyone a voice to ultimately advocate to better serve our youth.”

YouthCare works to end youth homelessness and to ensure that young people are valued for who they are and empowered to achieve their potential. YouthCare was founded in 1974 as one of the first shelters to serve runaway and homeless youth on the West Coast. The goal was to help young people find safety today and build a future for tomorrow. This passionate vision continues to drive YouthCare every day. Over the past four decades, YouthCare has defined best practices and developed programs that set a national standard for excellence.

“I stand with my coworkers in our union because it brings unity and balance into our working community,” said Niki Sebatware, Youth Counselor.

OPEIU Local 8 is a progressive, democratically run union working for social and economic justice since 1945. Local 8 represents more than 7,000 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.

Social service workers are some of the hardest-working, lowest-paid and most essential members of our community, which is why we’re proud to represent workers at prominent Washington State nonprofits such as Solid Ground, Plymouth Housing, Low Income Housing Institute, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Northwest Justice Project, and many others.

Want a voice at work? Get a union! Find out more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate a fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!

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