Brooklyn Boro

CAMBA Legal Service attorneys plan 24-hour strike to protest unfair contracts

March 22, 2019 Rob Abruzzese
CAMBA attorneys and staffers successfully unionized this past May, but conditions have yet to improve for underpaid employees nearly a year later. File photo courtesy of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys

Attorneys from CAMBA Legal Services, a group that provides legal assistance to the indigent, are planning a 24-hour strike on March 27 as they call on their employers to negotiate new and fairer contracts.

Attorneys from CAMBA have been struggling for a new contract since they fought and won a battle to unionize last May when they joined the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (UAW Local 2325).

In December, members staged a protest outside of the Brooklyn CAMBA office at 885 Flatbush Ave. At the time, the approximately 40 attorneys, paralegals and other people on staff wanted the company to negotiate new contracts in good faith.

More than three months later, they still have no contracts and employees have called for a strike.

“Since beginning negotiations more than six months ago, CAMBA has not offered reasonable counter-proposals on issues that ensure adequate client services including a step-based salary system for support staff, parental leave, comparable employee costs for health care and competitive pay for all legal staff,” said a statement issued by CAMBA staff attorneys.

“By not offering reasonable proposals on these basic employee necessities, CAMBA clients already in stressful situations are left with potentially inadequate legal services due to high staff turnover,” the statement continued. “CAMBA Legal Services workers, including paralegals and attorneys, provide free legal services for housing, consumer, foreclosure, and immigration in Brooklyn and Staten Island.”

Attorneys at CAMBA complain that low salaries have caused a high turnover rate at the company which puts stress on the remaining employees and all of the clients.

Last week, the entire staff voted unanimously to strike.

The strike will include workers of UAW Local 2325 as well as members of the Crown Heights Tenants Union and other allies. It calls for picket lines at three locations — the CAMBA headquarters at 885 Flatbush Ave., the Civil Court at 141 Livingston St. and outside their office at 1711 Church Ave.

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