AJWS and the AJWS Union Announce First Collective Bargaining Agreement

Landmark agreement ratified after only six months of bargaining

NEW YORK – American Jewish World Service and the AJWS Union announced their first ratified collective bargaining agreement, only six months after bargaining commenced, and only eight months after AJWS voluntarily recognized the union. The AJWS Union is affiliated with Local 153 of the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU).

“This process comes as the world contemplates the shifting needs of 21st century workplaces and invites us to use innovation and creativity to grow with our team,” said Robert Bank, AJWS president and CEO. “I’m proud that we worked collaboratively with the union to reach mutual decisions about what this collective bargaining agreement means for us as a values and mission-driven global human rights organization.”

AJWS management and the AJWS Union celebrated the agreement, which they note is rooted in a shared desire for an organization that lives its commitment to social justice, equity and inclusion.

“After months of collective bargaining, we are thrilled to see a final contract that creates a new standard for what it means to be a progressive nonprofit that practices its values,” said Hannah Fajer, AJWS policy associate and member of the union bargaining committee. “Living wages, generous paid leave, and organizational transparency are essential for all workers, and we in the AJWS Union hope to see other organizations follow suit.”

While it typically takes more than a year to reach a first contract, both management and union leaders are pleased with the efficiency of their negotiations process, and credit the willingness of all parties to listen to each other and use a values-driven approach to reach a ratified contract in only six months.

Venus Devnani, AJWS executive vice president said, “We are immensely proud of this powerful, collaborative and democratic process that has deepened our vision for AJWS as an organization that is progressive, values-based, people-first and forward-thinking, with policies and practices that find new ways to honor our people. This work is emblematic of the change we hope to see in the world – where all people are heard and treated with dignity, empathy, and respect.”

Audrey Silverman, AJWS development associate and member of the union bargaining committee said,

“At AJWS, our staff are tremendously dedicated to the organization’s mission and are integral to its success. This contract marks the beginning of ongoing collaboration between staff and management, and we are excited to continue supporting democracy – both in the countries where we work and in our own workplace.”

The new contract emphasizes individuals and families, collaborative problem-solving and financial futures. Highlights include:

  • Individuals and Families: New parental leave, sick leave, medical leave, and bereavement leave policies that incorporate the most modern and inclusive definition of families and encourages people to care for and prioritize themselves and their families in moments of need.
  • Financial Futures: Under the terms of the CBA, the union agreed to accept AJWS’s overall job leveling plan for the whole organization that includes a $60,000 salary minimum. The CBA further includes an enhanced 403(b) employer match, improved benefit offerings, and a new model for equitable annual wage increases.
  • Labor-Management Committee: The CBA also creates a Labor-Management Committee composed of management and union representatives who will review and offer guidance on a range of issues and facilitate amicable resolutions in a space designed for ongoing communication and partnership.

AJWS management and the AJWS Union look forward to implementing the policies in this agreement as they continue joint efforts to strengthen the organization and support the staff in carrying out their crucial human rights mission.

For More Information

If you are a member of the press and wish to obtain information about our work or speak to a member of our global team on deadline, please contact Tanyanika Davis, Director of Media Relations, at tdavis@ajws.org.