JFS Workers & Allies Demand a Fair Contract

On August 2, AFSCME Local 800 members rallied outside the Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFSLA) building Tuesday to demand a fair contract.

AFSCME Local 800 members are essential to the services JFSLA offers and yet we have not been offered a wage increase that would help combat record-high inflation rates, even though JFSLA leadership makes six-figure salaries and receive annual wage increases far surpassing those offered to employees. “What JFSLA management has been doing is appalling,” says AFSCME Council 36 Negotiator Mathew Kostrinsky. “They refuse to improve healthcare benefits, increase wages to keep up with the cost of living, and properly compensate employees for additional skills like being bilingual and obtaining a class C driver’s license. They have also been denying our members their basic Union rights.”

Karina Balaban, a case manager and Social Worker for the Holocaust program, told rally-goers that she and her coworkers love serving their community and the Holocaust survivors they work with, but the low wages are forcing workers to find employment elsewhere. “When I first started working at JFS, I was told that people would stay here for 25 years and now those people are leaving. Why?” said Balaban, who is also a member of the Local 800 bargaining team. “When I ask them, they say it’s not the same JFS. They don’t have the same values and leadership is poor.”

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Update, August 9: JFSLA management is seemingly refusing to continue negotiations. The Union sent management a list of potential bargaining dates so that we can continue negotiations and settle a fair contract quickly, but we have yet to hear back on any future dates, after Aug. 10. Management refuses to extend the contract and this seems to be their strategy to try and force us to settle a contract without adding crucial benefits.

Some of the items they want us to settle on include:

  • Lower wage increases
  • One-time bilingual bonus instead of on-going bilingual pay
  • Low Employer-Paid Monthly Healthcare Premium
  • No wage equity for long-term employees

The Local 800 bargaining team will continue to try and set bargaining dates to negotiate and work to seek a deal, but if JFSLA continues their anti-union tactics, we will demand our elected officials and community allies step in and put pressure on the Board of Directors to step in too. We will alert the media to all of the anti-union actions of JFSLA for the public to see.