New York’s Oldest City-Wide Tenant Organization Is Now Unionized
NEW YORK, New York — The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is excited to announce that workers of the Metropolitan Council on Housing have organized with unanimous support (non-supervisory staff). As of July 18, 2022 the IWW has notified management at the city’s oldest tenant’s rights organization that their staff are exercising their right to organization, while demanding a set of changes to working conditions.
The staff are demanding specific changes related to hours, wages, job duties, work / life balance, and communication between workers and management that workers believe are necessary to ensure the organization's ability to fulfill its mission.
The staff are also fighting for more fundamental structural changes to the organization, in order to help bring the organization to a healthier, more democratic place.
Too often, non profit organizations leverage their staff’s commitment to a cause to maintain regressive working conditions that ultimately serve to undermine their stability and effectiveness. People working at non profit organizations deserve equitable, dignified workplaces.
Established in 1959, the Metropolitan Council on Housing is New York’s oldest city-wide tenants’ rights organization and is on the steering committee of the statewide coalition Housing Justice for All. During Met Council’s 60+ year history of tenant advocacy, it has not shied away from supporting the more radical elements of the tenant struggle. The organization was involved in organizing the People’s Court Housing Crimes Trial with the Black Panther Party, the Young Lords and I Wor Kuen, as well as supporting the 1970’s squatter’s movement.
The organization now helps organize tenant’s associations in Northern Manhattan, fights for pro-tenant legislation at the city and state level, and operates a hotline that is one of the first sources of support tenants across New York City turn to for help when they have a problem with their landlord.
“We are excited to unionize with the IWW to ensure that we have a voice and that we are respected in the workplace. The fight to build worker power and democratize the workplace is part of the same fight to build tenant power and win tenant control over housing. The more power we have as workers, the better suited we will be to support and center the tenants with whom we organize in the fight for control over their buildings, their communities, and the city as a whole.” - Ben Rosenfield, Tenant Organizer
“After almost a year and a half of urging leadership to make serious structural changes, we are looking forward to being unionized with the support of the IWW. A strong, organized workforce can bring transformative changes and create a better, healthier environment for us to achieve our mission of building tenant power in NYC” - Kate Ehrenberg, Hotline Coordinator
The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is a labor union representing nearly 9,000 workers across North America. Established in 1905, the IWW is known for its high standards of democracy, transparency, multinationalism, and active use of the right to strike.