Human Service Workers at Persad Center File for USW Representation

Contact: Chelsey Engel, cengel@usw.org, 412-562-2446

Workers at Persad Center, a human service organization that serves the LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS communities of the Pittsburgh area, have launched their organizing effort with the United Steelworkers (USW) union.

The unit of 23 workers, ranging from therapists and program coordinators to case managers and administrative staff, announced their union campaign as the Persad Staff Union last night at Spirit Hall and Lodge in Lawrenceville. Earlier in the day, they filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The workers have been organizing for several weeks with the goal of gaining a stronger voice to advocate for themselves, their community, and their clients. They also hope for increased stability and transparency, as well as a commitment to hiring a more diverse staff.

“We care deeply about our work and the organization, which we believe will only benefit from greater input from staff,” said Diane Dahm, a clinical therapist at Persad. “We look forward to working with the board and management to make our agency stronger and better equipped to serve the vulnerable communities we work to uplift.”

The Persad Staff Union, which hopes for an election within the next few weeks, would join the growing number of white-collar professionals organizing with the USW in the Pittsburgh region. Their campaign is also in line with the recent work the Steelworkers have been doing to engage their LGBTQ+ members and improving contract language regarding issues that affect their lives.

“It’s important to organize in the communities that need it the most,” said USW Vice President Fred Redmond, who helps lead the union’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee. “These workers at Persad perform vital services, and they and their clients deserve to be empowered and heard.”

The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.

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