Union files federal labor complaint against New York Jewish federation alleging bad faith negotiations

Ben Sales

NEW YORK (JTA) — The union representing employees of New York’s Jewish federation has filed a federal complaint alleging that the federation is breaking the law by negotiating salaries in bad faith.

AFSCME District Council 1707 argues in its complaint filed last week with the National Labor Relations Board, which governs labor negotiations, that UJA-Federation of Greater New York gave raises to some employees outside the bounds of the union’s contract. That’s a violation of the federation’s agreement with the union, according to Thomas Murray, the union’s general counsel. All wage increases, he said, have to come as part of the contract.

The complaint, which was obtained by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, says the federation “has bargained in bad faith by unilaterally implementing wage increases for certain members of the bargaining unit without bargaining with the union while negotiations for a successor agreement are ongoing.”

New York’s UJA-Federation, an umbrella organization for Jewish philanthropy, declined to comment on the issue. The federation is the country’s largest with nearly $300 million in annual revenue and gains in fiscal year 2018.

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Last week, labor negotiations between the union and federation hit a snag over the latter’s plans to cut pensions for senior employees. On that issue, UJA-Federation said in a statement that it hoped “we will reach a mutually satisfactory agreement.”