Mazzoni Center front-line employees just voted to unionize - Generocity Philly

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Sep. 14, 2017 12:06 pm

Mazzoni Center front-line employees just voted to unionize

After months of controversy, staffers at the LGBTQ health organization will now be represented by Service Employees International Union.

Mazzoni Center front-line staff at the 2017 Pride Parade.

(Photo via twitter.com/MazzoniCenter)

Editor's note: This story has been updated with comment from a Mazzoni Center employee. (9/15, 4:07 p.m.)
A new chapter has begun at Mazzoni Center.

Yesterday, eligible non-management staffers voted in favor, 51-34, of Service Employees International Union representing them in collective bargaining efforts with their employer.

The vote took place after months of controversy at the LGBTQ health organization. In April, amid claims of racial bias and ineffective leadership, CEO Nurit Shein and Board President Jimmy Ruiz both resigned. And just last week, the news broke that Interim CEO Stephen Glassman had hired a “union-busting consulting firm with right wing, nationalist ties,” allegedly by mistake.

Read Glassman’s statement on the vote here.

We reached out to a current Mazzoni front-line employee who voted in favor of the union for comment. On the condition of anonymity, here’s what they said:

“My coworkers are incredible. Inspired by the brave work of the BBWC [Black and Brown Workers Collective], we found our collective voice in April and stood up against executive leadership who had let corruption become normalized. Patients and clients were being harmed and we demanded accountability. While some changes at the top occurred immediately (several people resigned), the culture remained toxic. Retaliation and intimidation flourished under the leadership of Anthony Rodriguez and Stephen Glassman, culminating in a shameless union busting campaign that funneled tens of thousands of dollars into the hands of right wing extremists.

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Now that we have empowered ourselves and formed a union, we are well positioned to start the healing process and committed to working together to institute the desperately needed reforms that the community has been asking for. Our patients and clients deserve the highest quality care and through grassroots leadership, we intend to make sure Mazzoni lives up to its full potential. This must include changes at the top. The Mazzoni Center Board of Directors and management team must reflect the diverse communities we serve and be fully accountable to all of us.

We are incredibly grateful to the community members, elected officials, former staff members, and patients and clients who stand by our side as we work tirelessly to make Mazzoni Center a better place to work and a trusted resource for the the LGBTQ community.”

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Julie Zeglen

Julie Zeglen is the editor of Generocity. Previous to joining the Technically Media team, she served as managing editor of Star Community Newsweekly, a hyperlocal newspaper focused on Philadelphia’s River Wards. The Temple alumna lives in West Philly.

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