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Southern Poverty Law Center employees vote to join union

By KIM CHANDLER, Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Employees of Southern Poverty Law Center civil rights organization have voted to unionize, the SPLC announced Monday.

The employees voted to join the Washington-Baltimore News Guild. The vote was 142-45, according to the SPLC union twitter account.

Karen Baynes-Dunning, interim president and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the organization’s employees “have spoken through a process that gave every eligible person the opportunity to weigh in on this important decision.”

“We go forward as one SPLC with gratitude for the commitment and engagement of our talented staff and the work we will continue doing together,” Baynes-Dunning said in a statement announcing the union vote.

A supermajority of employees this fall requested representation by the Washington-Baltimore News Guild, Local 32035 of The News Guild-Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO.

The nonprofit is perhaps best known for its work monitoring hate organizations but also does extensive civil rights litigation.

The move to unionize follows upheaval at the organization that saw the departure of longtime leaders and the announcement of a review of workplace culture.

The organizing committee has said that it wants to form a strong union that lays a “foundation for a legacy of equal rights, respect and dignity for all workers, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical ability, and national origin.”

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