Month-long Special Bargaining Ends With Some Union Wins and Losses of Key Unit Members, Including Bargaining Committee Member
SOMERVILLE, MA – For the past month ActBlue Tech Workers Union (ABTWU) / CWA Local 1400 have engaged management in decision and effects bargaining over their proposed reorganization and layoffs, and we are proud to have won both a reduction in the number of roles to be eliminated as well as a recall provision. The institutional knowledge and technical expertise we saved will directly benefit our platform, users, and Democrats during an important election cycle. Sadly, our platform and work culture are profoundly weakened by the actions management has taken. And we are pained to lose some of our coworkers, whom management insisted on laying off before offering other cost-cutting measures such as cuts to executive bonuses or compensation, voluntary reductions in hours, or training members for new roles.
Effective yesterday, the new ActBlue management team laid off 5 ActBlue Technical Services (ATS) members of CWA Local 1400. The layoffs included a member of our bargaining committee. Union negotiations saved the jobs of 4 additional members slated for layoff, including another member of our bargaining committee.
This round of layoffs follows the termination of 54 employees on the ActBlue side of our workplace on Monday, April 3. On this date, management announced their intent to quickly reorganize ATS by laying off additional employees in our bargaining unit, but were seemingly unaware of their legal obligations under labor law to bargain over the decision to conduct layoffs as we negotiate for our first collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
We share management’s concern for the financial health of our nonprofit and were dismayed to learn, for the first time with April’s layoff announcement, about management’s projected shortfalls for the 2023-2024 cycle. While we’re seeking to learn more about the oversight failures that brought us to this point, the members of our bargaining unit who keep ActBlue running fear that this deficit was the result of years of top-down decision making that ignored input from staff on opportunities to grow our platform and make it more sustainable.
We are grateful for our colleagues in the ActBlue Union and stand in solidarity with them, as well as the elected officials, unions, and allies who have spoken out about the impact of these layoffs and the importance of equity and organized labor within today’s Democratic Party. Together we know that Democrats are stronger when unions have a seat at the table, including here at our party’s small-dollar contribution platform. The workers of ActBlue Technical Services will continue to bargain with management for a democratic workplace that respects basic labor rights and on behalf of the grassroots movement of small-dollar donors, campaigns, and organizations that rely on our tools.