III. Concerned Staff Decided to Unionize in Response to the Board’s Retaliation
Witnessing the Board’s retaliation and harassment, Concerned Staff believed we needed to unionize. We consulted with experts and attorneys, other unionized nonprofits, and several unions. We then sought a majority of KRC staff support to unionize with the Machinists District 947 who we believed best suited our needs. The process was proper, legal, and morally necessary. To protect our right to unionize, we did not disclose our early organizing effort to certain Board-loyal staff because we had evidence of their collaboration and rightfully feared retaliation and union-busting.
Our process for unionizing was as follows: More than 50 percent of eligible KRC staff signed union authorization cards. The staff who signed the cards included service staff, organizers, administrative staff, immigrants, Koreans, and non-Koreans. These cards were certified by an independent third party to confirm that a majority of eligible staff had signed the authorization cards. Presented with a majority of staff support, Jonathan Paik, in his role as Executive Director, voluntarily recognized the union to support workers’ rights.
Angered by Jonathan’s pro-labor action, Board members DJ Yoon, Angela Oh, and Inbo Sim immediately engaged in union-busting tactics, misinforming and exploiting Young Ran’s group to discredit the union, exacerbate the divide among the staff, and target Jonathan. To justify revoking Jonathan’s voluntary recognition of the union, Angela Oh falsely asserted that the Executive Director is not an “employer” and therefore has no right to recognize a union. She then wrote that “his action should be corrected.” We were baffled that someone who works at the Department of Fair Employment and Housing either knew so little about the union process or would deliberately mislead the staff about proper process in order to de-unionize us.
As it stands, the union process was legitimate and the union is lawful. Our full union statement can be found here.