Workers At New Avenues For Youth File for Union Representation With AFSCME

Workers At New Avenues For Youth File for Union Representation With AFSCME

PORTLAND, OR - A strong majority of the over 130 eligible staff at New Avenues For Youth, a nonprofit focused on preventing and intervening in cases of youth homelessness, submitted union authorization cards with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Next, workers will vote on whether to form their union with Oregon AFSCME in late March or early April.

New Avenues For Youth operates several programs focused on supporting youth facing the threat of or suffering homelessness including drop-in day services, job training and employment services, education support, 24/7 supportive services for 9-17-year-olds, housing and shelter, support for youth experiencing sex trafficking or exploitation, services for youth in or transitioning out of foster care, drug and alcohol recovery and mental health support, legal services and services focused on the LGBTQ+ community.

Like so many nonprofits in the area, NAFY is experiencing excessive turnover rates, which is a major hindrance to positive outcomes for the youth being served.

"The record turnover at NAFY hurts the youth we serve - we are forming a union to collectively bargain for a work environment that supports employees’ ability and desire to stay,” said Charley Breyer, a Youth Mentor at NAFY.

By forming their own union, staff will have a seat at the table with management, with input in the decisions that affect them and their clients.

NAFY’s filing is yet another group of Behavioral Health workers who are coming together with Oregon AFSCME, following successful organizing efforts at Lines for Life and strong contracts with Central City Concern and Transition Projects, Inc.

“It’s a simple fact that when workers’ voices are respected, their working conditions greatly improve but so do the outcomes of the communities they serve. We strongly urge NAFY respect these workers’ rights and stay neutral in their union election” said Stacy Chamberlain, Executive Director of Oregon AFSCME.

Following submission of the authorization cards, workers requested NAFY management voluntarily recognize their union, or at least remain neutral in the NLRB election process.