Category Archives: UAW 2325 (ALAA)

NLRB Email Settlement

NLRB Free Speech Notice LAS

Settlement Agreement
Notice to Employees

From: Morris, Susan
Sent: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 11:14 AM
Subject: NLRB Email Settlement
Importance: High

Management has settled an unfair labor practice charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board by Susan Morris (CDP-Brooklyn) that challenged management’s ban on use of the Society’s email system for Union email.

As reflected in the materials below, the NLRB charge arose after CDP chief Tina Luongo threatened Susan with sanctions for having posted a message (below) that stated: “Long gone are the days when anyone with a union card has a voice in LAS.” In response to NLRB investigation, Scott Rosenberg (LAS Counsel) and Susan Morris signed a Settlement Agreement (attached) that requires management to comply with Purple Communications, 361 NLRB No. 126 (2014), under which union members cannot be prohibited from using work email to communicate about “the terms and conditions of employment [and] protected concerted activity.”

On September 18, pursuant to this agreement, Allan Fox posted a mandatory NLRB notice (attached) informing all employees, inter alia, that “WE HAVE AMENDED our e-mail policy in our employee handbook to allow employees to use out email system to communicate about terms and conditions of employment,” and that “WE WILL NOT threaten employees with adverse action for using our e-mail system to communicate about terms and conditions of employment on nonworking time.”

This is the second recent victory for free speech at Legal Aid. On May 1, Seymour James upheld a grievance (endorsed by ALAA) challenging management’s email restrictions against Michael Letwin (CDP-Brooklyn) for sending a message entitled “Racial Justice Update: Black and Palestinian Lives Matter.” That decision was issued two weeks after the public statement In Defense of Free Speech at The Legal Aid Society (April 14, 2015), signed by 118 ALAA and 1199 union members.

These victories show, once again, that we can successfully defend and exercise our rights. The next step is to ensure that management fully respects those rights by restoring ALAA’s longstanding, workplace-based email discussion list; lifting its prohibition on “unapproved” messages regarding Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements; and ending the indefensible discrimination that censors antiwar and Palestine human rights advocacy, while turning a blind eye to all manner of other “non-work” messages.

Attachments
Settlement Agreement
Notice to Employees

Related Links
Purple Communications, 361 NLRB No. 126 (2014)
Racial Justice Update: Black and Palestinian Lives Matter (March 6, 2015)
In Defense of Free Speech at The Legal Aid Society (April 14, 2015)
Great News: Free Speech Victory (June 23, 2015)

Exhibits (Below)

——————-
From: Fox, Allan
Sent: Friday, September 18, 2015 11:57 AM
To: LAS All
Subject: Amendment to our e-mail policy

We are notifying you of an amendment to our e-mail policy pursuant to a Settlement Agreement Approved by the Regional Director of Region Two of the National Labor Relations Board in Case 02-CA- 148285.  The amendment conforms our e-mail policy to recent decisions of the Board.  A copy of the revised policy may be found on LASnet hereand at pp. 41-44 of the Employee Handbook.

——————-
From: “Luongo, Justine”
Date:03/08/2015 1:54 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: “Morris, Susan”
Cc: “Ryan, Dawn” ,”Wright, Deborah” ,”Pate, Michael”
Subject: Re: RE:

Susan- this is precisely the type of email that I indicated is a violation of the policy. You have already been spoken to about this by your supervisors. Should you continue to use the email in this way, your use of all distribution lists will be suspended.

Sent from my iPhone. Apologies for any typos.

On Mar 8, 2015, at 1:46 PM, Morris, Susan <smorris@legal-aid.org> wrote:
Long gone are the days when anyone with a union card has a voice in LAS.

Great News: Free Speech Victory

From: Torres, Azalia
Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 3:15 PM
To: CRIMINAL ATTYS ALL
Subject: Great News: Free Speech Victory

Seymour James has upheld a grievance (endorsed by ALAA) challenging management’s email restrictions on Michael Letwin (CDP-Brooklyn) for sending a message entitled “Racial Justice Update: Black and Palestinian Lives Matter.” The decision (see below) was issued two weeks after the public statement In Defense of Free Speech at The Legal Aid Society (April 14, 2015), signed by 118 ALAA and 1199 union members.

This decision cites management’s failure to decide the Mass Free Speech Grievance (July 15, 2014), signed by 173 ALAA and 1199 members (and endorsed by ALAA). It also acknowledges that, under Purple Communications, 361 NLRB No. 126 (2014), union members cannot be prohibited from using LAS email to communicate about “the terms and conditions of employment [and] protected concerted activity.” However, the decision does not address the longstanding pattern of discrimination against antiwar and Palestine human rights advocacy at Legal Aid. 

As “we stand together” for a fair contract, let’s continue to stand up for our vital free speech rights at the workplace.

———————–

From: James, Seymour
Sent: Friday, May 01, 2015 6:52 PM
To: Letwin, Michael
Cc: Wright, Deborah; Taylor, Bret; Pate, Michael; Fredericksen, Jeremy; Luongo, Justine; Fox, Allan
Subject: Your grievances filed on July 15, 2014, and March 6, 2015

On June 25, 2014, you sent an email to all ALAA and 1199 staff on The Legal Aid Society’s email system with the subject line:  “6pm Today: Emergency Rally: Stop Israeli Crimes in Palestine.”  This e-mail was not related to any business purpose of the Society, nor did it relate to any term or condition of employment or other protected concerted activity under Section 7 of the NLRA.

On June 26, 2014, you were directed by Allan Fox, the Chief Human Resources Officer, not to send any non-work related emails over The Legal Aid Society’s email system. In response to this directive, you filed a grievance on July 15, 2014, contending that the email was protected under ALAA Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) §3.5 (“Free Speech”) and §1.5 (“Union Activities”).

Section 1.5 of the CBA provides that the Union will have reasonable use of the Society’s internal communication mechanisms.  “Reasonable use of the Society’s internal communication mechanisms shall be interpreted to mean the following: The Legal Aid Society will maintain an e-mail group that permits the President of ALAA and her designee to send communications to all ALAA members and permits individual members to respond to the President of ALAA and her designee as the sender(s) and not to the whole e-mail group. The Legal Aid Society has provided ALAA with a one-time payment of $12,000 so that ALAA can develop and implement a free-standing e-mail group of ALAA members that is not on The Legal Aid Society’s computer network.”  Your email was not one sent by the President of ALAA or her designee pursuant to this provision, and therefore § 1.5 of the CBA is not implicated.

Section 3.5 of the CBA protects the expression of personal religious, political, social, and economic beliefs.  However, it does not confer the right to utilize the business equipment of the Society to communicate those beliefs except to the extent related to terms and conditions of employment or protected concerted activity.  Non-work related, non-Section 7 protected emails may, subject to ALAA’s internal procedures, be sent on the free standing email group of ALAA members that is not on the LAS computer network.

The email you sent on June 26, 2014 was not related to any business purpose of the Society, nor was it related to terms or conditions of employment or any other protected concerted activity at The Legal Aid Society. Accordingly, your grievance of July 16, 2014, is denied.

On March 6, 2015, you sent an email using Legal Aid’s email system to the CRIMIMAL PRACTICE ALL, CIVIL STAFF ALL, JUVENILE ALL, and all 1199 Members e-mail groups . Under the banner “Labor for Palestine” and “Tell New York City Council Members: DON”T TOUR APARTHEID,” the e-mail urged:  “Please Sign: Labor for Palestine to NYC Council Members: Don’t Tour Apartheid Israel.”  This email did not relate to any business purpose of the Society, nor did it relate to any term or condition of employment or other protected concerted activity.  Later on that same date, you received an email from Tina Luongo stating that despite prior warnings, your email violated the Society’s e-mail policy.  She further stated that in light of your disregard of prior warnings, your use of Outlook Distribution Lists will be limited for a six month period effective Monday, March 16, 2015.  She further stated that subsequent violations will result in further limitations in your use of Distribution Lists and may result in disciplinary action. You filed a grievance on March 6, 2015, based on your prior grievance of July 15, 2014.

During the grievance hearing on March 31, 2015, you requested that the email and the discipline restricting your use of the distribution lists be rescinded. You claimed that the email limitation was a denial of your free speech rights and violated §3.5 of the ALAA agreement and the right to engage in activity under Purple Communications. You further contended that there was lack of notice and therefore lack of good cause for the discipline. You argued that because you had not received a response to the July grievance, the issue had not been resolved, the notice was deficient and the disciplinary action restricting your use of the distribution lists did not constitute progressive discipline.

After giving consideration to your argument, I find that the email of March 6, 2015 was neither work-related nor related to any term or condition of employment or other Section 7 protected activity. Therefore, Ms. Luongo’s response to your email did not violate the holding in Purple Communications.  However, because the stated basis for Ms. Luongo’s temporary restriction of your use of Outlook Distribution Lists was your disregard of prior warnings, and because the July grievance concerning one such prior warning was not decided at that time, I am rescinding on that ground that portion of Ms. Luongo’s decision that temporarily restricts your use of Distribution Lists.

Please be advised that your use of Outlook distribution lists for communications that are neither work-related nor encompassed within Section 7 protected activity may subject you to discipline and restriction of your access to Legal Aid Distribution Lists.

In Defense of Free Speech at The Legal Aid Society (118 Initial Signers)

In Defense of Free Speech at The Legal Aid Society (118 Initial Signers)
April 14, 2015

The undersigned members of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325 and 1199SEIU Healthcare Workers East are deeply concerned about unprecedented new restrictions on use of Legal Aid Society email. These vague blanket restrictions violate our right to effectively engage in collective bargaining, publicly dissent from management’s labor policies, fully participate in union activities, or even continue supporting the Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements.

For reasons detailed in grievances of July 15, 2014 (subsequently adopted by ALAA’s Joint Council heard on October 2, 2014, but never decided by management) and March 6, 2015 (heard on March 31, 2015) management may not selectively impose punishment for a message entitled “Racial Justice Update: Black and Palestinian Lives Matter,” which addresses NYPD cooperation with Israeli police and military.

Moreover, under the National Labor Relations Act, it is an unfair labor practice to bar employees from debating Section 7-protected subjects at the workplace, including “controversial political matters,” or punish employees for publicly objecting to the new email policy. GC 15-04, Report of the General Counsel Concerning Employer Rules (March 18, 2015), at 8, 11.

Under a groundbreaking new NLRB decision, it is also an unfair labor practice to impose a blanket ban on “nonwork” use of Society email, since “employees who have been given access to the employer’s email system in the course of their work are entitled to use the system to engage in statutorily protected discussions about their terms and conditions of employment while on nonworking time, absent a showing by the employer of special circumstances that justify specific restrictions.” Purple Communications, Inc., 361 NLRB No. 126 (2014), slip op. at 5.

This policy cannot be justified by complaints about such messages, since “employees can, and do, promptly hit the ‘delete’ button when they receive messages that are not relevant to their work or otherwise of interest.” Slip op. at 15 n. 72. It is equally irrelevant that ALAA has an off-site email list, since, “supposed alternative means are simply not natural gathering places for employees of a particular employer in the same way that their employer’s email network is.” Slip op. at 6 n. 18.

We therefore reaffirm the July 15 Mass Free Speech Grievance, which calls on management “to rescind this ban, and respect our free speech rights.”

Signers (List in Formation)
*Denotes Attorneys of Color of Legal Aid (ACLA) member

Jeremy E.W. Fredericksen
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Alternate Vice-President, ALAA/UAW 2325

Michael Pate
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Vice-President, ALAA/UAW 2325

Michael Letwin
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Former President, ALAA/UAW 2325

Azalia Torres*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Former Sr. Attorney & Attorneys of Color (ACLA) Rep., ALAA/UAW 2325

Antonia Codling*
Criminal Defense-Bronx
Affirmative Action Rep., ALAA/UAW Local 2325

Laurie Dick
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Susan Olivia Morris
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Former Alternate Vice President, ALAA/UAW 2325

Pooja Kothari*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
LGBT Caucus Alternate Rep., ALAA/UAW 2325

Monica D. Dula*
Criminal Defense-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Steve Terry
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Antonio Villaamil*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Daniella Korotzer
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Former Vice President and Health & Safety Rep., ALAA/UAW 2325

Greg Johnston
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Lauren Katzman
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Aurea Gonzalez
Paralegal 1
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Alexandra Smith
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Claire Nicolay
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Patrick Langhenry
Civil-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Bridgett Holloman
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Titus Mathai*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Brittany Thomas*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Nadine Griffin
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Ferdinand Cesarano
Criminal Defense-Central Admin.
1199SEIU

Melissa Leigh Ballowe
Criminal Defense-Manhattan
Former Alternate Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Susan Light
Criminal Defense-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Felicia Leak
Criminal Defense-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Donella Green*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Willliam Brosh, LCSW
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Joshua Carrin
Criminal Defense-Manhattan
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Lucy Herschel
Criminal Defense-Queens
Delegate, 1199SEIU

Lori Masco
Juvenile Rights-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Genitha Wint
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Lisa Pitts*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Yvonne Nix
Criminal Defense-Manhattan
ALAA/UAW 2235

Diane Akerman
Criminal Defense-Queens
ALAA/UAW

Alix Willard
Criminal Defense-Bronx
Delegate, 1199SIEU

Lejla Bajrami
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Shawn Bosler
Juvenile Rights Practice-Bronx
1199SEIU

Candace Graff
Paralegal II
Juvenile Rights-Special Litigation
1199SEIU

Martin Morris
Criminal Defense-Bronx
Vice-President, ALAA/UAW 2325

Nick Wanger
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Joe Austin
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Ivan Pantoja*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Middle Attorney Rep., ALAA/UAW 2325

Brendan M. Relyea
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Shahar Azoulay*
Parole Revocation Defense
ALAA/UAW 2325

Todd Smith
Juvenile-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Rigodis Appling
Criminal Defense-Manhattan
Delegate, Part-time Attorney Rep., ALAA/UAW 2325

Sarah Evans-DeVita
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Jodi Smith*
Criminal Defense-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Leah Martin
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Anne Oredeko*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Junior Attorney Rep., ALAA/UAW 2325

Rebecca Kurti
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Michael Teitel
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Lisa Edwards*
Civil-Harlem
ALAA/UAW 2325

Nora Carroll
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Imtiaz Hossain*
Criminal Defense-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Lorca Morello
Criminal Appeals
ALAA/UAW 2325

Peter Nasaw
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Naila Siddiqui*
Criminal Defense-Manhattan
Former Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Brittany Ruffin*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Pauloma Martinez*
Criminal Defense-Queens
ALAA/UAW

Stephanie Pope
Criminal Defense-Staten Island
ALAA/UAW 2325

Alyssa Cose-Primus
Forensic Social Worker
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Cheryl Williams*
Criminal Appeals
ALAA/UAW 2325

ManI Tafari*
Criminal Defense-Queens
ALAA/UAW 2325

Tasha Ricks*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Warren Deans
Criminal Defense-Central Admin.
Delegate, 1199SEIU

Emily Farquharson
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Asmika Dangol
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Nancy Matos-Rodriguez
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Cynthia LaCaprucia Taylor
Civil-Harlem
Former Alternate Vice President (Civil Div.), ALAA/UAW 2325

Ying-Ying Ma*
Criminal Defense-Manhattan
ALAA/UAW 2325

Mitchell Paolo Esteller*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Mily Rosa
Criminal Defense-Queens
1199SEIU

Jennifer Ritter
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Former Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Antoinette Kirwan*
Juvenile Rights-Bronx
Attorneys of Color (ACLA) Alternate Rep., ALAA/UAW 2325

Stacey Robinson*
Criminal Defense-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Samantha Seda*
Criminal Defense-Queens
ALAA/UAW 2325

Mimi Rosenberg
Civil-Brooklyn Neighborhood Office
ALAA/UAW 2325

Kissa Broadie*
Criminal Defense-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Fazeela Siddiqui*
Civil-Queens
ALAA/UAW 2325

Daniela Crespo*
Civil-Staten Island
ALAA/UAW 2325

Robert Soriano-Hewitt*
Civil-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Michael Baptiste
Criminal Defense-Queens
1199SEIU

Amy Cross*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Anthony Posada*
Criminal Defense-Queens
ALAA/UAW 2325

Dale Ventura*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Jeremiah Schlotman*
Civil-Brooklyn Neighborhood Office
ALAA/UAW 2325

Megan Foley
Criminal Defense-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Emily Poppish
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Les Helfman
Civil-Brooklyn
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Alicia Thomas*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Monique Fleury-Brown
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Clinton Hughes
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Noor Ahmad*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Jason Wu*
Civil-HCLO
ALAA/UAW 2325

Kathryn Thiesenhusen
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Hilary Dowling
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Young Lee
Civil-Employment Law
Former Alternate Vice President, ALAA/UAW 2325

Kayla Simpson
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Bina Ahmad*
Criminal Defense-Staten Island
ALAA/UAW 2325

Rumzi Araj
Criminal Defense-Bronx
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Kellsie Barton*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Erin Tomlinson
Criminal Defense-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Steven Douglas Levine
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Vanita Martin
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Desiree Salomone
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Bridgette Bissonnette
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Former LGBT Caucus Alternate Rep., ALAA/UAW 2325

Magnus Mukoro
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU Delegate

Eric Meggett*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Melissa Leigh Ballowe
Criminal Defense-Manhattan
Former Alternate Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Taylor James*
Housing Help Program, Civil-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Lynette Miller, LMSW
Forensic Social Worker
Criminal Defense-Queens
1199SEIU

Nell Hirschmann-Levy
Civil-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Roslyn Morrison*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Jacob Rolls
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Nicole Zayas, LCSW
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Niamh O’Flaherty
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Updated Signers (173) of Mass Free Speech Grievance

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Friday, August 08, 2014 1:25 PM
To: ALAA Members, 1199 Members
Subject: Updated Signers (173) of Mass Free Speech Grievance

On July 29, 2014, the ALAA Joint Council voted to “authorize this grievance to proceed through the third step of the grievance process.”

Additional individual endorsers from both ALAA and 1199 will continue to be listed below.

 

Mass Free Speech Grievance
July 15, 2014
List in formation: 173 Signers: 130 ALAA members (including 54 ACLA members*) and 43 1199/SEIU members

The undersigned members of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325 and 1199SEIU Healthcare Workers East hereby join in grieving Legal Aid Society management’s attempt to ban “non-work-related matter involving the current situation in the Middle East,” as reflected in the two warnings (attached below), concerning messages to the ALAA email discussion list.

This censorship is just the most recent reflection of more than twelve years of pandering to complaints and threats by those seeking to silence antiwar and Palestine human rights opinion at Legal Aid.

Regardless of our individual political views, the targeted speech — like earlier opposition to racial segregation, the Vietnam War, or South African apartheid — is protected under ALAA Collective Bargaining Agreement §§ 3.5 (“Free Speech”) and 1.5. (“Union Activities”), and under relevant 1199SEIU contractual provisions.

In addition, such discrimination contributes to a broader hostile work environment for Arabs, Muslims, Palestinians and other people of color, in violation of ALAA Collective Bargaining Agreement § 3.1.1. (“Non-Discrimination”), CBA § 3.1.2. (“Affirmative Action”), relevant 1199SEIU contractual provisions, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.

It is irrelevant that ALAA has agreed to eventually relocate its discussion list from the Society’s email system. As long as the current list exists, management may not selectively censor particular views or entire topics, while at the same time turning a blind eye to innumerable political and “non-work-related” messages — often sent by the very same list members who demand censorship of others.

There is no “heckler’s veto” or “Palestine exception” when it comes to free speech.

Moreover, since recipients can easily delete, or configure their individual Outlook settings to automatically “opt-out” of, Palestinian rights (or any other) messages, management may not engage in selective censorship under the guise of additional, unfathomable, unspecified “op-out” procedures.

We call on management to rescind this ban, and respect our free speech rights.

Signers (List in Formation)
*Denotes Attorneys of Color of Legal Aid (ACLA) member

Michael Letwin
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Former President, ALAA/UAW 2325

Noha Arafa*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Azalia Torres*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Former Sr. Attorney & Attorneys of Color (ACLA) Rep., ALAA/UAW 2325

Noor Ahmad*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Susan Olivia Morris
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Alternate Vice President, ALAA/UAW 2325

Jane Sampeur*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Pooja Kothari*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Lucy Herschel
Criminal Defense-Queens
Delegate, 1199SEIU

Marlen S. Bodden*
Criminal Defense-Special Litigation
ALAA/UAW 2325

Nora Carroll
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Antonia Codling*
Criminal Defense-Bronx
Affirmative Action Rep., ALAA/UAW Local 2325

Laurie Dick
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Monica D. Dula*
Criminal Defense-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Lisa Edwards*
Civil-Harlem
ALAA/UAW 2325

Taylor James*
Housing Help Program, Civil-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Daniella Korotzer
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Former Vice President and Health & Safety Rep., ALAA/UAW 2325

Rebecca Kurti
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Patrick Langhenry
Civil-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Kristin Lew
Criminal Defense-Manhattan
Former Negotiating Committee Member, 1199SEIU

Florence Morgan*
Criminal Defense-Queens
ALAA/UAW 2325

Mimi Rosenberg
Civil-Brooklyn Neighborhood Office
ALAA/UAW 2325

Steve Terry
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Alexandra Smith
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Bahar Ansari*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Luke Schram
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Stephanie Pope
Criminal Defense-Staten Island
ALAA/UAW 2325

Brittany Thomas*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Antonio Villaamil*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Claire Nicolay
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Antoinette Kirwan*
Juvenile Rights-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Kathryn Thiesenhusen
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Lauren Katzman
Juvenile Rights-Broklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Elena Roberts
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Aurea Gonzalez
Paralegal 1
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Rigodis Appling*
Criminal Defense-Manhattan
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Donella Green*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Dale Ventura*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Jawaid Stationwala*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Greg Johnston
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Katherine Fitzer
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Julie Fry
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Vice President, ALAA/UAW 2325

ManI Tafari*
Criminal Defense-Queens
ALAA/UAW 2325

Ferdinand Cesarano
Criminal Defense-Central Admin.
1199SEIU

Eric Meggett*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Steven Wasserman
Criminal Defense-Special Litigation
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Willliam Brosh, LCSW
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Roslyn Morrison*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Lisa Pitts*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Titus Mathai*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Hilary Dowling
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Bridgett Holloman
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Anna Boksenbaum
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Alternate Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Steven Kliman
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Bernadette Jackson
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Joseph Lavine
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Asmika Dangol
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Claudia Diez
Paralegal II
Criminal Appeals
1199SEIU

Jeffrey Sugarman
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Adrian Lesher
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Grover Francis
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Alternate Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Scott Rudnick
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn|
ALAA/UAW 2325

Warren Deans
Criminal Defense-Central Admin.
1199SEIU

Steven Douglas Levine
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Lois Jackson
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Cynthia Pong*
Criminal Defense-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Erin M Bannister
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Genesis Fisher*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Tajuana B. Johnson*
Criminal Defense-Manhattan
ALAA/UAW 2325

Bina Ahmad*
Criminal Defense-Staten Island
ALAA/UAW 2325

Naila Siddiqui*
Parole Revocation Defense
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Marie Mombrun*
Civil-Queens
Alt. Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Stephanie J. Fields
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Jacob Rolls
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Rumzi Araj
Criminal Defense-Bronx
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Fazeela Siddiqui*
Civil-Queens
ALAA/UAW 2325

Zoie T. Mair*
Criminal Defense-Staten Island
ALAA/UAW 2325

Jeremiah Schlotman*
Civil-Brooklyn Neighborhood Office
ALAA/UAW 2325

Rodrigo Santelices*
Civil-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Anne Oredeko*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Junior Attorney Rep., ALAA/UAW 2325

Samantha Seda*
Criminal Defense-Queens
ALAA/UAW 2325

Ivan Pantoja*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Middle Attorney Rep., ALAA/UAW 2325

Shahar Azoulay*
Parole Revocation Defense
ALAA/UAW 2325

Andrea Ibrahim*
Criminal Defense-Staten Island
ALAA/UAW 2325

Femi Disu*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Affirmative Action Rep., ALAA/UAW 2325

Robert Newman
Criminal Defense-Special Litigation
ALAA/UAW 2325

Bobby Codjoe*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Cory Walker
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Daniel Moore
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Jason Wu*
Civil-HCLO
ALAA/UAW 2325

Mark Weiner
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Laura Rose Bull
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Delegate and Junior Attorney Alt. Rep., ALAA/UAW 2325

Alison Schill
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Kayla Simpson
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Bridgette Bissonnette
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
LGBT Caucus Alternate Rep., ALAA/UAW 2325

Alma Magaña*
Criminal Defense-Manhattan
Vice President, ALAA/UAW 2325

Candace Graff
Paralegal II
Juvenile Rights-Special Litigation
1199SEIU

Amy Dallas
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Susan Light
Criminal Defense-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Nadine Griffin
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Imtiaz Hossain*
Criminal Defense-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Svetlana M. Kornfeind
Criminal Appeals
ALAA/UAW 2325

Frederic Pratt
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Former Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Hernscica Vincent
Paralegal
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Joshua Carrin
Criminal Defense-Manhattan
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Madeline Porta
Criminal Defense-Queens
ALAA/UAW 2325

Lori Masco
Juvenile Rights-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Melissa Leigh Ballowe
Criminal Defense-Manhattan
Alternate Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Alicia Thomas*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Cynthia LaCaprucia Taylor
Civil-Harlem
Alternate Vice President (Civil Div.), ALAA/UAW 2325

Juan Charbonier
Criminal Defense-Queens
1199SEIU

Hasan Shafiqullah*
Civil-Immigration Law
LGBT Caucus
Former delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Helen Frieder
Civil-Bronx
LGBT Caucus Alternate Rep., ALAA/UAW 2325

Nada Geha
Civil-Staten Island
ALAA/UAW 2325

Richard Blum
Civil-Employment Law
ALAA/UAW 2325

Young Woo Lee
Civil-Employment Law
Alternate Vice President (Civil Div.), ALAA/UAW 2325

Jane Fox
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Todd Smith
Juvenile-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Felicia Leak
Criminal Defense-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Jeremy E.W. Fredericksen
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Bridgett Holloman
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Mitchell Paolo Esteller*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Jodi Smith*
Criminal Defense-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Vanita Martin
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Monique Fleury-Brown
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Rachel Messer
Juvenile Rights-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Robert Soriano-Hewitt*
Civil-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Lauren Monosoff
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Margaret Garrett
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Crystal Baker-Burr
Juvenile Rights-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Genitha Wint
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Deborah Pollack|
Criminal Defense-Manhattan
1199SEIU

Bharati Narumanchi*
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Grace Oboma-Layat*
Juvenile Rights-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Robin Gordon Leavitt
Criminal Defense-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Erin Tomlinson
Criminal Defense-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Alix Willard
Criminal Defense-Bronx
Delegate, 1199SIEU

Makeysha Woodman
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Lejla Bajrami
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Leah Maloney
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Michelle McGrath
Criminal Defense-Manhattan
ALAA/UAW 2325

Yvonne Nix
Criminal Defense-Manhattan
ALAA/UAW 2235

Alyssa Cose-Primus
Forensic Social Worker
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Diane Akerman
Queens CDP
ALAA/UAW

Anthony Posada*
Queens CDP
ALAA/UAW

Valerie LeBrew
Civil-Queens
1199SEIU Delegate

Omar Garcia
Civil-Brooklyn
1199SEIU Delegate

Jamaal Burnside
Juvenile Rights-Brooklyn
1199SEIU Delegate

Aisha King
Criminal Defense-Staten Island
1199SEIU Delegate

Javier Chuck
Civil-Harlem
1199SEIU Delegate

Magnus Mukoro
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU Delegate

Shawn Bosler
Juvenile Rights-Bronx
1199SEIU

Terence Davidson
Criminal Defense-Central Admin.
1199SEIU

Anastasia Taketomo
Juvenile Rights-LGBT Law and Policy Initiative
1199SEIU

Mily Rosa
Criminal Defense-Queens
1199SEIU

Lasalle Jones
Criminal Defense-Bronx
1199SEIU

Adriano De Gennaro
Civil-Prisoners’ Rights
1199SEIU

Abida Chaudhry
Criminal Appeals
1199SEIU

Phillip Guttman
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Susan Yousefi
Civil-Brooklyn
1199SEIU

Joseph Rivera
Criminal Defense-Queens
1199SEIU

Liliana Canela
Civil-Queens
1199SEIU

Michael Pate
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
Delegate, ALAA/UAW 2325

Pauloma Martinez*
Criminal Defense-Queens
ALAA/UAW

Cheryl Williams*
Criminal Appeals
ALAA/UAW 2325

Emily Poppish
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Sarah Marie Young
Parole Revocation Defense
ALAA/UAW 2325

Jess Braverman
Juvenile Rights-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

Catheranne Wyly
Juvenile Rights-Manhattan
ALAA/UAW 2325

Susan Sternberg
Civil-Lower Manhattan
Alternate Senior Attorneys Representative, ALAA/UAW 2325

Joshua Norkin, Esq.
Criminal Defense-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Bridget McDevitt
Criminal Defense-Bronx
ALAA/UAW 2325

Catherine Norris
Civil-Harlem Community Law Office
ALAA/UAW 2325

Alexander Smith
Criminal Defense-Brooklyn
ALAA/UAW 2325

——————————­——————————­——————–
ATTACHMENTS

From: Fox, Allan
Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2014 4:16 PM
To: Letwin, Michael
Cc: Wright, Deborah
Subject: The Society’s email policy

In 2009 and 2013, The Legal Aid Society entered into agreements with the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys to achieve compliance with the Society’s longstanding e-mail policies and to clarify the parameters of Article 1.5 of the collective bargaining agreement with respect to ALAA’s use of the Society’s e-mail system.  (See copies of the attached agreements.)  The 2009 agreement provides that on an interim basis, the Society agrees to permit ALAA members to create personal e-mail groups, provided however that before and after setting up a personal e-mail group any and all potential or existing members of the personal e-mail group must be given an opportunity to opt out of the personal mail group.  Yesterday and today, we received several e-mails to ALAA members about a non-work-related matter sent by you involving the current situation in the Middle East, along with complaints from several ALAA members who received such communications who have elected to opt out of receiving them under the 2009 agreement.  As we have previously advised you, it is a violation of the Society’s e-mail policy and the 2009 agreement to send unwanted non-work-related communications to Society employees who have opted out of receiving such communications.  We are directing you to cease such actions and expect you to abide by your obligations under the 2009 agreement with ALAA and the Society’s e-mail policy. (Emphasis added.)

______________________________________________

From: Fox, Allan
Sent: Friday, July 11, 2014 3:05 PM
To: Herschel, Lucy
Subject: Email Policy & Usage

 

As we reiterated in an e-mail to all staff on June 26, The Legal Aid Society’s e-mail system is to be used for work-related communications. Our e-mail policy is clearly set forth in the Employee Handbook, which has been posted on LASnet for many years. Relevant portions were quoted in an e-mail today to all LAS staff. You recently sent a non-work-related e-mail communication to all ALAA and 1199 staff about recent events in the Middle East, and we have received a number of complaints from staff members who object to the communication. We are directing you to cease sending non-work-related communications that violate the policy and expect you to abide by your obligations under the Society’s e-mail policy. (Emphasis added.)

Pop-Quiz on Free Speech at LAS 101

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 2010 12:55 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: Pop-Quiz on Free Speech at LAS 101

(Don’t cheat — you probably know the right answers* anyway).

1. Free speech exists precisely to protect the expression of opinions that other people may find:

A. Untrue.

B. Inflammatory.

C. Offensive.

D. Boring.

E. Annoying.

F. Upsetting.

G. Provocative.

H. Too controversial.

I. They really don’t like to hear.

J. All of the Above.

2. “Hostile work environment” means:

A. You really don’t like what someone else says or does at work.

B. “[D]iscriminatory workplace harassment based on race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age or sex. Additionally, the harassment typically must be severe, recurring and pervasive.”

http://employeeissues.com/hostile_work_environment.htm

3. Under ALAA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, a message entitled “Stand with the People of Gaza & Palestine – protest tomorrow 3/9/2010” is just as protected as a “non-work” message about:

A. Tillikim and the other Whales at SeaWorld (e.g., Edda Ness, 3/3/10).

B. Public Petition to Support Qing Wu (Christine Bella, 3/1/10).

C. Contacting Your Representatives on Health Care Reform (Debbora Gerressu, 2/22/10).

D. Food for thought, the next time you think of spending any of your money at Whole Foods (David Affler, 2/6/10).

E. Cocktail Reception to Raise Funds for the Victims of the Haitian Earthquake – 2/4/10 (Allen Popper, 2/2/10).

F. A bit of wisdom from Sarah Palin (Jeffrey Bloom, 11/19/09).

G. RE: Ted Kennedy has Come and Gone (Sam Roberts, 8/26/09).

H. Queens Charter Event 5-13-09 (Mary Anderson, 5/8/09).

I. All of the above.

4. When someone writes a message you don’t like, union and free speech principles entitle you to:

A. Ignore it.

B. Selectively block messages from the sender and/or about that topic.

C. Express your own opinion.

D. Whine loudly until management agrees to selectively censor the union e-list.

E. A, B and/or C.

5. Since “New ALAA Email Policy” went into effect on October 7, 2009, there have been at least 555 “non-work” messages — not one of them sent to a specially created group.

A. True.

B. False.

6. Since the “New ALAA Email Policy” went into effect on October 7, 2009, management has issued a public warning only against the one entitled “Stand with the People of Gaza & Palestine – protest tomorrow 3/9/2010.”

A. True.

B. False.

7. Since everyone has the option to selectively ignore and/or block unwanted messages, we can reasonably infer that the real purpose of selective censorship is to inhibit criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

A. True.

B. False.

8. People try to censor opinions they disagree with because they:

A. Have confidence in their own position.

B. Lack confidence in their own position.

9. I believe that Palestinian lives are just as precious as anyone else’s. (Be honest.)

A. True.

B. False.

10. In the last Sunday sermon before his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. defended his opposition to the Vietnam War, explaining, “there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.”

A. Yes, I agree with Dr. King’s philosophy.

B. No, this doesn’t apply to positions that I deem “too controversial.”

—————–

*Answers

1:J

2:B

3:I

4:E

5:True

6:True

7:True

8:B

9:A.

10:It’s not about Dr. King, it’s about us.

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 8:48 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: Urgent Appeal to ALAA Members: Defend Free Speech at Legal Aid
Importance: High

The attached Word document provides background and context in opposition to the proposed surrender of free speech rights on the union email lists, which is scheduled for a vote at this Thursday’s Joint Council meeting.

*To endorse this statement, please say so in a “reply all” message.*

Urgent Appeal to ALAA Members: Defend Free Speech at Legal Aid
September 15, 2009

Decades of free speech rights at Legal Aid are under serious attack.

On its face, the threat comes from management’s attempt to ban free speech on the union email list,[1] and a parallel ban against postings on the outside of doors to internal offices and workspaces.

But according to management and ALAA leaders, the driving force behind these policies are demands by union members and others to censor speech critical of U.S./Israeli policies.

If implemented, the ALAA office will be allowed to post email messages, but “the system may not be used as a forum for discussion of those announcements.” The ban “will be strictly enforced,” and violators will face “disciplinary action that may result in discharge from employment.”

The union has previously voted to grieve such email restrictions. But now, to avoid arbitration, union leadership advocates a “compromise” (attached) that, citing the very management policies in dispute, prohibits discussion on the union email list, and offers no free speech protection on “personal” email groups.

For the reasons below, the undersigned urges all members—regardless of political opinion—to direct union representatives at the September 17 Joint Council to vote against surrendering free speech rights at Legal Aid.

Free Speech Rights at Legal Aid

ALAA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement provides unambiguous protection for free speech: “The expression of personal religious, political, social or economic beliefs of each and every attorney is fully guaranteed.” § 3.5.

In that spirit, the Society joined ALAA and 1199 to defend attorneys’ right to wear “Ready to Strike” buttons in court, Frankel v. Roberts, 165 AD2d 382 (1st Dept. 1991), and to challenge the Giuliani administration’s retaliation for the 1994 strike.

The CBA also provides that, “The Union will have reasonable use of the Society’s internal communication mechanisms.” § 1.5.

For decades, the union and its members have exercised that right through access to LAS bulletin boards, individual office doors, staff mailboxes, telephones, fax machines, and/or conference rooms. This discourse has often included controversial political speech.

By the late 1990s, discussion had largely migrated to the Society’s email system. In 2000, management established union email lists.[2] Recognizing that free speech is essential, most members have debated, blocked or simply ignored content they dislike.

9/11: Censorship Rears Its Head

The following details the progression of censorship at Legal Aid since 9/11.

*October 26, 2001. Allen Popper (then ALAA Vice-President for CDD-Queens) unsuccessfully demands that the United Auto Workers remove ALAA president Michael Letwin for his vocal leadership of New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW), which opposes the Bush administration’s post-9/11 policies.[3]

*October 28, 2001. ALAA’s citywide officers refute false claims that, in opposing the war, Letwin has purported to speak on behalf of the union.[4]

*February 21, 2002. After five months of obstruction by Popper and others, the ALAA Delegate Council overwhelmingly condemns the Bush administration’s attack on civil liberties and immigrant rights.[5]

*April 5, 2002. Popper files a grievance claiming that email messages “condemning Israel, supporting the Palestinians” are “antisemitic” [sic]. On threat of legal action against Legal Aid, he demands that the senders “be suspended or fired,” and that any staff attorney “who attends said [Palestinian rights] rally as a legal advisor be suspended.”

*June 13, 2002. Management unsuccessfully tries to impose a unilateral ban of all discussion on the union e-mail lists.

*2003-2006. Popper and other members—while posting their own political or other “non-work” messages—reportedly continue to demand that management ban messages critical of the war and/or Israel.

*July 2006. Popper (now in CDD-Brooklyn) files a grievance about an allegedly “anti semetic [sic] flyer” left on his desk.[6] The grievance is denied.

*June 12, 2007. Management and union leadership says that Popper, other unidentified union members, and/or the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith (ADL) have threatened to contact the City Council about “anti-Semitic” Antiwar Bulletins posted on the union email lists.[7] As a result, management tells Letwin not to post any messages about Israel or Iraq.[8]

*October 28, 2008. Management says that, in response to complainants that management would not identify, Letwin must remove a “Free Palestine” sticker from his office door. Brooklyn CDD members protest this policy by posting various materials on their own office doors, in response to which management suspends its order pending arbitration of the overall speech ban.

*January 13, 2009. Forty-four ALAA and 1199 members (many of them Jewish) issue a statement condemning Israel’s attack on Gaza.[9][9] Management receives additional censorship demands.

*May 12, 2009. After extensive discussion, Brooklyn CDD ALAA proposes an Open Letter to Steven Banks: Defend Free Speech at Legal Aid (below*), which is designed to enlist members in a campaign to have the free speech ban withdrawn, before ever reaching arbitration.

ALAA’s Executive Board rejects Brooklyn’s proposal as needlessly provocative to management, unpopular with members and insulting to union leaders. The leadership has yet to inform all members of the history and context of management’s censorship plans.

*August 2009. Union leaders criticize the targeted political speech as “divisive,” and argue that “we have no choice” but to accept management’s “compromise” that forbids collective discussion on union email lists.

*September 17, 2009. ALAA Joint Council to vote on management’s free speech ban.

Expediency or Principle?

For the reasons below, the free speech ban is just plain wrong.

*As Brooklyn CDD union representatives (both supporters and opponents of Israeli policy) have pointed out to management, antiwar and “Free Palestine” opinions are—like earlier demands to “Free South Africa”—clearly not ethnic slurs, but protected political speech.

*Accepting such a content-motivated speech ban—without even a fight—would make us complicit in the very post-9/11 witch-hunting, Islamophobia and erosion of civil liberties ALAA has previously vowed to oppose. It also invites demands for givebacks in other areas, of which there have already been many.[10]

*Surrender to a ban on email discussion (or posting on office doors) won’t resolve this issue. Those of us who are against the war and who support Palestinian rights will employ other forms of speech at the workplace and on newly established off-site union lists. What happens when the censors try to silence that free speech?

*The “compromise” isn’t. It simply tracks a speech ban that blatantly violates our contractual rights.

*By taking the moral high ground, a public membership-based campaign, with support from civil liberties and community allies, can effectively generate pressure on management to withdraw its free speech ban—without ever going to arbitration.

Signers

(List in formation; affiliations listed for identification only.)

*Noha Arafa (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; ALAA Alt. Vice-President)
*Julie Fry (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; ALAA Vice-President)
*Michael Letwin (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; former ALAA Pres., 1990-2002)
*Susan Olivia Morris (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; ALAA Executive Bd., LGBT Rep.)
*Ivan Pantoja (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; ALAA Executive Bd., Jr. Atty. Rep.)
*Azalia Torres (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn; former member, ALAA Executive Bd.)
*Jennifer Burkavage (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn, Delegate)
*Steve Terry (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
*Florence Morgan (Criminal Defense-Queens)
*Mimi Rosenberg (Civil-Brooklyn)
*Antonia Codling (Criminal Defense-Bronx; former member, ALAA Executive Bd.)
*Roslyn Morrison (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
*Patrick Langhenry (Civil-Brooklyn)
*Marisa Benton (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
*Janet Forrester (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
*Lisa Edwards (Harlem Community Law Office)
*Brian Hutchinson (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)
*Reda Woodcock (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)

*Open Letter to Steven Banks: Defend Free Speech at Legal Aid

Submitted by Brooklyn CDD, May 12, 2009

The undersigned ALAA and 1199 members at The Legal Aid Society in New York City are alarmed and disappointed by your attempt to undermine our longstanding free speech rights by seeking to prohibit posted materials on individual office doors and to abolish collective discussion by union members on the Legal Aid email system.

The new policy violates ALAA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, which provides that “The expression of personal religious, political, social or economic beliefs of each and every attorney is fully guaranteed,” and that “The Union will have reasonable use of the Society’s internal communication mechanisms.” §§ 3.5, 1.5.

The policy also betrays decades of past practice and fundamental democratic principles. Moreover, it would have a devastating effect on our individual and collective ability to function as union members.

It is especially reprehensible that the new policy reflects an ongoing attempt to silence particular political opinions. Regardless of whether we agree with those viewpoints, attempts to chill their expression — either directly or indirectly — are an indefensible attack on the rights of all union members.

We expect you as Attorney-in-Chief to stand up for free speech at The Legal Aid Society by withdrawing this new policy, and look forward to your prompt reply.



[2] Rather than continuing to enumerate each and every type of rapidly changing communications technology, § 1.5 was shortened to its current overarching language.

[3] NYCLAW’s initial statement of September 27, 2001 was ultimately signed by 1,254 trade unionists, including fifty-eight union presidents (three from the UAW); fifty-eight ALAA members; and twenty-three Legal Aid 1199 members. 9.11 5th Anniversary: NYC Labor Against the War(9.27.01), http://nyclaw01.wordpress.com/2006/09/10/911-5th-anniversary-nyc-labor-against-the-war-92701/.

[4] Michael Letwin, George Albro and Charlotte Hitchcock, Labor Against the War Statement(October 28, 2001), http://nyclaw01.wordpress.com/2001/10/28/labor-against-the-war-statement-re-alaauaw-local-2325/. See also, Zuss: 9/11 and NYC Labor Against the War (NYCLAW), http://bobzuss.wordpress.com/2007/05/31/september-27-2001-nyc-labor-against-the-war-nyclaw/; Michael Letwin, Support for UAW Local 2325 Antiwar Resolution (April 14, 2003), http://nyclaw01.wordpress.com/2003/04/14/support-for-uaw-local-2325-antiwar-resolution/.

[5] “As a labor union whose members fight each day for the statutory and constitutional rights of indigent New Yorkers, The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW Local 2325, is deeply opposed to the Bush administration’s broad assault on precious civil liberties and democratic rights.” In Defense of Civil Liberties, February 21, 2002, http://www.nacdl.org/public.nsf/ENews/2002e30?opendocument.

[6] Questioned by management, Letwin replies, “While I did not leave anything on Allen Popper’s desk, the flyer in question condemns U.S.-Israeli policy—a position shared by many Jews, including me—and is in no way anti-Semitic.”

[7] The ADL routinely brands as “anti-Semitic” supporters of Palestinian rights (including those who are Jewish). Its recent targets include Nobel peace laureates Jimmy Carter, Arch-Bishop Desmond Tutu, and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan; United Nations Special Rapporteur Richard Falk; former Irish President and 2009 Medal of Freedom recipient Mary Robinson; Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson; former US Congress Member Cynthia McKinney; university professors; and trade unionists. Last month, for suggesting modest limits on illegal Israeli settlements, the ADL fired warning shots across Barack Obama’s bow.

[8] Antiwar Bulletins and other materials continued to be posted by Letwin and others, including Antonia Codling (July 2, 2007), Noha Arafa (September 10, 2007), Azalia Torres (October 23, 2007), Julie Fry (March 21, 2008), and Marisa Benton (April 15, 2008).

[9] Legal Aid NYC Union Members: Stop Israel’s Massacre in Gaza and End the Siege Now(January 23, 2009), http://laborforpalestine.wordpress.com/2009/01/13/legal-aid-nyc-union-members-stop-israel%E2%80%99s-massacre-in-gaza-and-end-the-siege-now/.

[10] See, e.g., Bob Zuss and Susan Morris, Vote No (December 13, 2004),http://bobzuss.wordpress.com/2004/12/13/vote-no/ ; Michael Letwin, The Real Issues in This Election (May 16, 2007), http://bobzuss.wordpress.com/2007/05/16/the-real-issues-in-this-election-michael-letwin/ .

Antiwar Bulletin: Today & Sat. – Antiwar Protests

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Friday, July 28, 2006 8:48 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Antiwar Bulletin: Today & Sat. – Antiwar Protests

Demonstration on Friday July 28, 2006 at the Israeli Consulate March Across the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday July 29, 2006

STOP THE WAR STOP THE KILLING
DEMONSTRATION IN FRONT OF THE ISRAELI CONSULATE

NYC, July 28, 2006
What: Stop the War, Stop the Killing Demonstration
When: FRIDAY –  JULY 28th  3:30 to 6:30 P.M.
Where: 2nd Ave. – Bet. 42nd St. & 43rd St (In front of The Israeli
Consulate)

Sponsored By: Arab Muslim American Federation, National Council Of Arab Americans, International Action Center, Troops Out Now Coalition , Alawda New York, Al-Khuli Islamic Center, ICNA N.Y, MAS New York. [Also endorsed by New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW)]

—————

STOP US SPONSORED ISRAELI TERROR
MARCH ACROSS THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE

NYC, July 29, 2006
Links to Downloadable Fliers Below

What: Stop Us Sponsored Israeli Terror – March Across The Brooklyn Bridge

When: Saturday July 29, 2006 – 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Where: Cadman Plaza Park, Brooklyn (near the Brooklyn Bridge) March across the Bridge followed by rally at Thomas Paine Park at Worth, Pearl and Centre Streets in lower Manhattan at 3:30 PM.

Why: Israeli attacks on Palestine and Lebanon have reached new heights with the displacement of almost 1 million people in Lebanon, the killing of hundreds of civilians in Lebanon, and Palestine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure; all of which are crimes against humanity, as the world watches in either silent complicity or outright support.  The United States wants to give Israel enough time to ‘finish the job’ and has accelerated shipment of even more destructive bombs to add to the Israeli arsenal which includes illegal phosphorous and cluster bombs being used against the civilian population in Lebanon and Palestine.

We call on all people of conscience to come out and demand an end to the US Sponsored Israeli War Crimes being perpetrated against the people of Palestine and Lebanon.

Stop the Invasion of Lebanon
End the Occupation of Palestine
Stop US AID to Israel
Free Arab Political Prisoners In Israel

To download flier go to:
http://www.naaponline.org/ny/Rally06/rally_7_29_11.JPG
http://www.naaponline.org/ny/Rally06/rally_7_29_5.5.JPG
http://www.naaponline.org/ny/Rally06/rally_7_29_8.5.JPG

Sponsored by: Ad – Hoc Coalition for Justice in the Middle East

Endorsed by: National Council of Arab-Americans – NYC, ANSWER Coalition, International Action Center, Network of Arab-American Professionals of NY-PC, the International Solidarity Movement – NYC, the New York Campaign for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, the International Socialist Organization, ADC New York Chapter, Action Wednesdays Against War, Jews Against the Occupation – NYC, WESPAC Foundation, NYC Labor Against the War.

To endorse and for further information contact – Ad-Hoc Coalition for Justice in the Middle East – protectpalestine@gmail.com

Transportation by subway:

*A, C (8th Ave Line) High Street station located at Cranberry Street and Cadman Plaza.  Exit at the rear of the train, if coming from Manhattan.
Walk one block south and cross the Cadman Plaza.

*M, R (BMT) Court Street station is located at the corner of Montague Street.  Exit at the front of the train, if coming from Manhattan.  Walk north on Court Street (which becomes Cadman Plaza) about five or six blocks.

*A, C, F (8th Ave Line, Culver Line) Jay Street–Borough Hall station, located at Jay Street and Myrtle Avenue.  Exit at the rear of the train, if coming from Manhattan.  Walk north to Tillary Street, then west to Cadman Plaza

Transportation by car:

*From Manhattan, take first exit off Brooklyn Bridge

*From Brooklyn, Queens, or Staten Island take the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to the Cadman Plaza exit.

Reconstructing Internationalism with Labor For Palestine (Electronic Intifada)

Electronic Intifada

Reconstructing Internationalism with Labor For Palestine

Those who follow Palestinian activism, from the McCarthyist “Campus Watch,” to the intrepid Jews Against the Occupation, are aware that Labor For Palestine (LFP) has emerged over the past year as a new campaign in labor internationalism. Yet asLFP prepares for its first national conference in Chicago on July 23, 2005, few know how it began.

Officially, LFP was born in June 2004 when I met Michael Letwin in Manhattan’s Union Square to discuss drafting the Open Letter, LFP’s founding document. Letwin’s unrelenting pro-Palestinian advocacy had recently cost him his presidency of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW 2325. It came down to a choice between title and conscience, he recalled, and “which one I would rather have when the day is over.” Across from where we sat, the Virgin Music Store stood like a garish backdrop for Union Square’s arena of musicians without record labels, dancers without agents, farmers without franchise supermarkets – we were off to a good start.

But the notions behind LFP were in the works long before this. They started in South Africa, where an international divestment movement in the 1980s threw a wrench in apartheid’s brutal turbines, yet where people still vanish in the night over political struggles like water privatization. Johannesburg is where academics are screened. Soweto is where Reagan-era “terrorists” form community crisis committees to defy corrupt authorities. It was where, two years ago, at a freezing August meeting in the Workers’ Library, people began speaking of a U.S.-based solidarity campaign for Palestinian workers.

The notions arrived in the U.S. in late 2003, and ruminated through the midnight hours in Al-Awda’s Brooklyn office for months to come. They were articulated at conference panels about apartheid and the AFLCIO’s estimated $5 billion Israel Bond investments, or in the memory of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which blocked South African cargo from entering San Francisco’s docks in 1984. By the time it debuted at the Million Worker March in October 2004, LFP had a global following.

As the LFP Open Letter states, “international solidarity, the right of national self-determination and social justice are among the most basic trade union principles.” Those principles, also known as working-class internationalism, emerged as early as the 17th century and eventually heralded the anti-slavery movement.(i) By 1864, workers from Poland, Germany, Italy, France, Britain and Switzerland convened in London to found the First International, driven by Karl Marx’s dictum, “Proletarians of all countries unite!”(ii) This was the beginning of the International Workingmen’s Association (IWA), which was affirmed in two successive conventions, and which inspired other global labor collectives, such as the Wobblies – the Industrial Workers of the World – who established themselves in Chicago in 1905, and gave rise to the legendary labor martyr, Joe Hill.

The IWA, however, did not have an unblemished historical record, if its overtly masculine profile is anything to go by. Despite its noble worldliness, the movement was often tainted with bigotry and xenophobia. One well-known agent of this abuse was the American Federation of Labor’s (now the AFLCIO) founder, Samuel Gompers, who told the 1898 Anti-Imperialist League, “How vital then is the importance of saving American labor from the evil influence of close and open competition of semi-barbaric laborers in the Philippine Islands?”(iii) Likewise, following World War I, white mine workers in South Africa formed armed commando units, one of which used the slogan, “Workers of the World Unite, and Fight for a White South Africa.”(iv)

These fallacies were familiar to Tony Cliff, who was born into a Zionist Jewish family in Palestine in 1917, and later founded the Socialist Workers Party. Internet-based biographies on Cliff note how early on he was puzzled by the way that Zionist activists smashed Arab farmer market stalls in the name of “Jewish produce only,” or how Zionist trade unionists promoted “Jewish labor only.” In this light, Israel’s kibbutz-style “socialism” was an existential farce, particularly because it was built on stolen Arab lands.

But as Lewis L. Lorwin writes, the real legacy of the IWA was inside peoples’ heads, and it spawned “the tradition to which the movements of a later day turned for inspiration and to which they were eager to trace their own ideas and doings.”(v) As a campaign, LFP is a part of that consciousness, that ongoing deliberative process of interrogating the principles of labor internationalism. Or, as Brenda Stokely, the president of New York’s AFSMCE DC-1707, said at LFP’s launch last year, “In the same vein that DC-1707 has stood, and still stands up for Jews as a persecuted minority in the U.S., so it is time to stand up for Palestinians, the persecuted minority of our world today.”

The very essence of LFP is to apply the critical, revolutionary lens of labor activism to the plight of Palestinians who endure the catastrophe of Israel’s division, dispossession and ethnic cleansing. It is these workers who raise children under the anarchy of sniper bullets and home demolition, who freeze or suffocate at meaningless “security” checkpoints, who endure the multi-fold indignities of occupation. They are women and men, Christian, Muslim and secular, and they are workers like any of us.

The day-long LFP First National Conference will take place at Truman College in Chicago, Ill., and will coincide with the AFLCIO’s week-long quadrennial convention. The event will include speakers on topics ranging from academic persecution, to organizing labor delegations to Palestine. Finally, the conference will debut two new documentaries: The first is titled “Breaking Walls,” and was produced in 2004 by a delegation of European trade unionists. The second, titled, “Bonds of Disaffection,” examines the historic, contradictory relationship between U.S. labor and Israel.

More Information

  • Labor for Palestine, Web: www.laborforpalestine.org, Email: lfp@al-awdany.orgZachary Wales is a journalist and masters student in social policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

    End Notes

    i Linebaugh, Peter and Rediker, Marcus. The Multi-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic. Boston: Beacon Press, 2000.

    ii Frank, Dana. “Where is the History of U.S. Labor and International Solidarity? Part I: A Moveable Feast.” Labor: Studies in Working Class History of the AmericasVolume 1, Issue 1, 2004: p. 100.

    iii Scott, Jack. Yankee Unions, Go Home! How the AFL Helped the U.S. Build an Empire in Latin America. Vancouver: New Star Books, 1978: p. 93.

    iv Thompson, Leonard. A History of South Africa. New Haven: Yale University, 2001: p. 160.

    v Cited by Frank: p. 100. Referring to Lorwin, Lewis L. Labor and Internationalism. New York: Macmillian, 1929: p. 58.