On February 12, 223 public defenders at the Defender Association of Philadelphia (a.k.a the Philly Defenders Union) voted to join the UAW International Union. On February 20, the union announced on Twitter that they had been formally recognized by the NLRB.
The UAW released the following statement on February 12 welcoming the new members:
UAW Regional Director Jeff Binz said, “We welcome the Defender Association into the UAW. These Attorneys are an essential part of our justice system and we are proud to assist them in bargaining a fair and equitable contract.”
Over 68% of members voted in favor of unionizing. Defender Association of Philadelphia is a non-profit corporation, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that provides defense on a court-appointed basis for criminal and delinquency cases in which the defendants and respondents are indigent adults and juveniles.
“This was a hard fight won by the dedicated public defenders of Philadelphia. They look forward to bargaining an agreement with the Association, and to making positive changes in their workplace which in turn will benefit their clients,” said Lauren Farrell, a UAW organizer.
The new unit joins other public defenders in cities like New York and Los Angeles. The UAW also represents Community Legal Services in Philadelphia which provides legal aid in civil matters.