Get the Daily News Digest in your inbox each morning. Sign Up

SPLC laying off staff in ‘restructuring’

Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center is laying off  staff in an organizational restructuring.

“We are taking steps to streamline our activities and operations to strengthen our ability to advance a multiracial, inclusive democracy and ground our work in the perspectives and priorities of communities most affected by human rights violations,” the racial justice non-profit said in a written statement. 

In a separate statement, the union representing the staff accused the 53-year-old organization of “hoarding” funds and trying to intimidate employees. The layoffs come about two years after SPLC announced it had reached a collective bargaining agreement with its staff. 

The union said about 25% of staff will be let go; 60 union members, including five stewards and the union chair.

“SPLC’s decision has a catastrophic impact on the organization’s work in support of immigrants seeking justice and its mission to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements and advance human rights through support of educators,” the union said. “CEO and President Margaret Huang announced that the cuts would allow greater ‘focus’ on racial justice, but failed to explain how eliminating immigrant justice work and anti-racist education work served that goal.”

The organization said it is consolidating certain programs and activities eliminating others. 

“This was a difficult but necessary decision to focus and align our work with our programmatic priorities and goals,” the statement said. “We deeply value the contributions of all our staff and their commitment to ensuring the promise of equal justice is a reality for all.”

According to the website Guidestar, which tracks non-profits’ tax filings, SPLC in fiscal year 2022 had assets totaling $7,234,885 and liabilities totaling $365,315. It had more than $140.3 million in revenue in 2022 and about $111 million in expenses.

The organization did not comment on the number of employees losing their jobs.

The union’s statement also said the layoffs were an anti-union effort to intimidate employees.

“Make no mistake – laying off dozens of employees, many of whom were union activists, less than a year before we will bargain our second contract was no coincidence,” it said. 

“… Management’s goals here are clear, but they will not win. Our union is strong.”

Southern Poverty said its mission remains to serve as a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond. 

“In partnership with communities, we are working tirelessly to dismantle white supremacy and advance the human rights of all people — especially Black and Brown communities,” it said.

In 2019, SPLC fired co-founder Morris Dees and said an outside group was going to monitor the organization’s workplace practices.

Get the Daily News Digest in your inbox each morning.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Web Development By Infomedia