SEATTLE (Dec. 9, 2021) — The staff at Forterra NW voted overwhelmingly Wednesday for representation by the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 8.
The group of 29 project managers, philanthropy staff, lands managers, and staff accountants in the Seattle area are dedicated to supporting Forterra’s mission of driving “land-based solutions in Washington to support a healthy environment and resilient communities for all.” They sought to unionize to improve working conditions to reduce turnover, increase transparency and accountability, and have a chance to participate in decision-making that directly impacts their lives at work. They organized entirely remotely during the pandemic.
Originating as a land conservancy in 1989, Forterra NW today works around Washington state to create a more sustainable future through conservation, restoration, community-based partnerships and innovation.
Forterra staff unionizing with OPEIU Local 8 continue a trend of employees in environmental nonprofit organizations in Washington state choosing to form a union. Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters recently organized with CWA Local 7800, as did King Conservation District with WFSE Council 28. OPEIU Local 8 represents employees at many nonprofit organizations, but Forterra is the first at a nonprofit with an environmental focus to join.
“I’m excited for all we will be able to do to for Forterra staff members and our community now that our union is in place,” said Maya Klem, Green Cities Project Manager and proud Organizing Committee member. “Thanks to all of you who have been a part of organizing our union — this is a huge win for all of us!”
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.