Roosevelt Institute Seeks Union Representation


New York, New York – The staff of the Roosevelt Institute, a think tank founded to honor and advance the vision of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, has moved to unionize. The Institute’s employees have submitted a petition for voluntary recognition to senior management, indicating their intent to unionize with the NewsGuild of New York, CWA Local 31003.

In recent years, the Roosevelt Institute has cemented its reputation as a leading think tank for the progressive movement. In a mission statement presented to senior management, Roosevelt Institute employees cited the importance of the Institute’s nationally recognized work on social and economic equality, while recognizing the need to establish workplace protections that promote the long-term health and stability of the organization.

“Lifting up workers’ voices has always been a core part of the Roosevelt Institute’s mission and message,” said Katie Kirchner, Program Associate. “We believe that by unionizing we will make the entire organization stronger, and deepen our commitment to the values we espouse through our work.”

Employees say the petition for union representation could not come at a more critical time. “Donald Trump’s presidency and the rise of a right-wing conservative, anti-worker Congress demand a proactive and energetic response from the entire American labor movement,” said Kathryn Milani, Program Director. “These are challenging times for all of us who believe that everyone, regardless of their race or background or beliefs, deserves a fair share of our collective prosperity. As such, the Roosevelt staff chooses to align with our organizational values and stand in solidarity with those fighting for a brighter future by organizing a union.”

“No progressive organization can afford to grow complacent about promoting equity, transparency, and inclusion, whether inside or outside the workplace,” said Amy Chen, Digital Manager. “We take tremendous pride in the work we do at Roosevelt and in the diversity and talent of our team, and we view our decision to unionize as a way to ensure we continue to hold ourselves to that high standard.”

Full text of mission statement below:

“Inspired by the legacy of Franklin and Eleanor, the Roosevelt Institute re-imagines America as it should be: a place where hard work is rewarded, where everyone participates and enjoys a fair share of our collective prosperity. This ethos of diversity, equity, and inclusion should define the work that the Roosevelt Institute does each day.

We love our jobs and are honored to contribute to the Roosevelt Institute's nationally recognized work on social and economic inequality. That’s why we give so much of ourselves to the work of the organization. We recognize that the impact of our work is necessary and consequential, so we are seeking to establish systems that promote the long-term health and stability of the Roosevelt Institute.

We have elected to seek union representation with the NewsGuild of New York, Local 31003, part of the Communications Workers of America. The Guild has a long history of representing researchers and media professionals at The New York Times, Reuters, and The Nation, among others. In this time of growth, a union will make the Roosevelt Institute stronger by giving staff a collective voice. Our union will facilitate constructive, amicable, open, and honest conversations that will serve to invigorate the organization and help us to achieve the greatest possible impact.

We want to work with Roosevelt Institute management in a spirit of honesty, integrity, and transparency to create policy and to improve the conditions in which it is produced. Our union will ensure that the Roosevelt Institute is a workplace that reflects the vision we advocate to the world: an economic and political system built by many for the good of all, in which it matters not only what rules are written but who writes them.  

We offer this statement in a spirit of collaboration and mutual benefit and hope that it will be accepted as such. Please respond to this request for voluntary recognition by Monday the 13th of February.”


About NewsGuild of New York

The NewsGuild, Local 31003 of the Communications Workers of America, represents nearly 3,000 media professionals and other employees at New York area news organizations, including The New York Times, Thomson Reuters, The Nation, The Daily Beast and Time Inc.


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