Safe Passage employees move to union vote

  • Safe Passage in Northampton GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/29/2020 1:51:52 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Workers at Safe Passage will not receive voluntarily recognition of a union they are seeking to form, meaning they will have to hold an organizational vote to become affiliated with UAW Local 2322 in Holyoke.

The Board of Directors for Safe Passage, an organization that works to end domestic violence and relationship abuse, announced this week that it doesn’t oppose a union, but that the 33 staff members affected should participate in an election to voice their opinions.

“Our decision is based on our commitment to uphold equity and justice in the workplace,” Raquel Manzanares, co-chairwoman of the board, said in a statement. “We believe that a secret ballot election is the most equitable way to make sure that all staff members are supported and heard during this process.”

Manzanares said the decision to not voluntarily recognize the union came from deliberation during a listening session, staff input and feedback and advocacy from across the organization.

Annie Wood, a member of the Safe Passage Organizing Committee, said organizers are disappointed by the board’s decision, but that workers are ready to show that the union has majority support, and want to get to the bargaining table.

“We believe the union is necessary to hold management accountable, give workers a democratic say over our working conditions, and ensure that Safe Passage remains stable and resilient through this crisis,” Wood said.

Wood noted that a majority of workers in the proposed bargaining unit signed authorization cards asking for the recognition of the union.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

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