The following press release has been released on CWA’s website, read it here, or the full text below.
Following The Trevor Project’s contentious staff layoffs, workers are sounding the alarm on the nonprofit’s anti-worker behavior, demanding management bargain in good faith
Workers file ULP in response to Trevor’s targeted retaliation and disciplinary action against union leaders
NATIONWIDE – Following The Trevor Project’s decision to lay off nearly 12% of bargaining unit employees, Trevor Project workers and members of CWA Local 1180 (Friends of Trevor United) are taking action to call out the organization for its increasingly aggressive anti-worker behavior. Just last week, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge on behalf of the workers with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in response to management’s unlawful threats and coercive attempts to silence workers. The Trevor Project workers have also released a petition, linked here, demanding the nonprofit stop its flagrant union busting and start bargaining in good faith.
The Trevor Project leadership announced last month’s layoffs suddenly while union representatives were in an active bargaining session. A disproportionate number of the 44 bargaining unit employees that Trevor laid off were prominent and vocal union advocates, with one third of union leadership being laid off at once. In addition to nearly wiping out the entire Lifeline Training Team – who provide crucial support to counselors carrying out Trevor’s core mission of protecting LGBTQ+ youth – the layoffs heavily affected the union’s trans and BIPOC members. To make matters worse, management failed to adequately respond to information requests regarding how workers were selected, while refusing to make any form of compromise on their arbitrary selection criteria.
“Earlier this year, my colleagues and I saw what collective power looks like when we united together and stood strong in our demands for union representation,” said Ruby Zenteno, who works in the Clinical Operations Department, helping to provide crisis intervention services. “But the layoffs made it clear that our fight for a more equitable workplace is far from over. The Trevor Project management’s decision to lay off nearly 12% of its essential staff and a third of union leadership has shown us, after years of mistreatment, just how little they care about the health and wellbeing of their workers. The Trevor Project’s anti-worker behavior stands in direct opposition to our mission and the important work that we, as its staff, have devoted our lives to carrying out. We won’t be silenced, and you better believe we’ll keep fighting until management meets us at the table to secure a fair contract that all workers deserve.”
The layoffs come just months after Trevor workers won union recognition in April of this year. Since then, The Trevor Project management has actively threatened and silenced union members and advocates in nefarious ways, including prohibiting workers from discussing their working conditions on the job and, instead, forcing them into one-on-ones with management that often lead to workers being disciplined for airing their concerns. Recently, six workers were illegally disciplined by Trevor Project management for attempting to correct misinformation about union negotiations in an all-staff meeting. In their ULP charge, the union underscored that management’s decision to discipline these workers violated union members’ NLRA Section 7 right to concerted action.
“When I co-founded The Trevor Project, I did so to create a resource for LGBTQ+ youth who are struggling to express their identity and feel accepted in a world where being gay or trans can feel terrifying. The Trevor Project is about supporting each other, and to see the way these workers have been treated by management – for engaging in their right to organize – is appalling and completely unacceptable,” said Trevor Project co-founder Celeste Lecesne, who has since left the organization. “The workers being targeted have saved lives and helped countless members of the LGBTQ+ community feel heard. It’s time that management hears these workers and joins them in their fight to create a more equitable workplace.”
About Communications Workers of America:
The Communications Workers of America represents working people in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, health care, public service and education, manufacturing, tech, nonprofits and other fields.