Labor Union

Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (UAW Local 2325)

Website:

www.alaa.org/

Location:

New York, NY

Type:

Union Local

Founded:

1969 1

References

  1. “About ALAA.” ALAA. Accessed January 15, 2024. https://www.alaa.org/about-alaa.
President:

Lisa Ohta

President's Salary (2022):

$33,156 1

References

  1. “FORM LM-2 LABOR ORGANIZATION ANNUAL REPORT – UAW Local 2325.” U.S. Department of Labor, March 31, 2023. https://olmsapps.dol.gov/query/orgReport.do?rptId=864842&rptForm=LM2Form.
Budget (2022):

Revenues: $2,312,417

Assets: $539,890

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The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (UAW Local 2325) is a labor union affiliated with the United Auto Workers representing attorneys and other legal professionals at the Legal Aid Society of New York and other legal nonprofits in the New York City region. 1 It regularly engages in left-of-center advocacy on issues such as decriminalization of prostitution, liberalization of immigration laws, opposition to eviction, elimination of cash bail, and increased pay for imprisoned laborers. 2

In 2023, ALAA members approved a “Resolution Calling for a Ceasefire in Gaza, an End to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine, and Support for Workers’ Political Speech” that was criticized by some union members, nonprofits that employed them, and supporters of those organizations as antisemitic, pro-Hamas, and inconsistent with attorneys’ responsibility to avoid conflicts of interest with their clients. 3 4 5 6

History and Leadership

The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys was founded in 1969 to represent attorneys at the Legal Aid Society of New York and other professionals at legal nonprofits in the New York City area. 7 It is a local of the United Auto Workers international union.

ALAA’s president is Lisa Ohta, a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society of New York. 8

Because ALAA represents workers at New York City-area employers, it also represents workers in Michigan and Texas employed by New York-based Neighborhood Defender Services. 9

Advocacy

The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys regularly supports left-of-center policies on criminal justice issues and other related topics. 10

It has advocated for the decriminalization of prostitution, liberalization of immigration laws, eviction moratoriums, elimination of paid bail, minimum-wage pay rates for prison labor, pro-LGBT hiring policies in public and private employers, increased restrictions on firearm ownership, universal government-funded health care, and other left-of-center policies. 11 12 13 14

Resolution on 2023 Israel-Hamas War

In 2023, ALAA members approved a “Resolution Calling for a Ceasefire in Gaza, an End to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine, and Support for Workers’ Political Speech” by a vote of 1067-570. 15 The resolution included references to “Israeli apartheid,” called for an end to military aid to Israel, supported a Palestinian “right of return,” and endorsed the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. 16

The Legal Aid Society publicly denounced the ALAA resolution, saying it was “laden with coded antisemitic language and thinly veiled calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.” 17

The resolution was opposed by many ALAA members for having a pro-Hamas, anti-Israel bias such as referencing 11,000 Palestinian deaths without a similar reference to Israeli deaths from Hamas attacks. 18 ALAA members at the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County sued to block ALAA members from voting on resolution, arguing that it was inconsistent with their duty as licensed attorneys to avoid conflicts of interest with their clients. 19 20 The plaintiffs received an initial temporary restraining order, but the suit was ultimately rejected on First Amendment grounds. 21

Some employers of ALAA members also opposed the resolution, both on philosophical grounds as well as out of concern that it could jeopardize their funding. 22 The New York Legal Aid Society and other legal nonprofits largely rely on donations from law firms, some of which were reported to be reconsidering that support after the resolution. 23

References

  1. “About ALAA.” ALAA. Accessed January 15, 2024. https://www.alaa.org/about-alaa.
  2. “Legislation.” ALAA. Accessed January 15, 2024. https://www.alaa.org/legislation.
  3. Alaa. “Resolution Calling for a Ceasefire in Gaza, an End to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine, and Support for Workers’ Political Speech.” ALAA, December 20, 2023. https://www.alaa.org/media-releases/resolution-calling-for-a-ceasefire-in-gaza-an-end-to-the-israeli-occupation-of-palestine-and-support-for-workers-political-speech.
  4. Campanile, Carl. “Legal Aid Union Approves Pro-Hamas, Antisemitic Resolution Calling for Boycott of ‘apartheid’ Jewish State, Critics Say.” New York Post, December 20, 2023. https://nypost.com/2023/12/19/metro/legal-aid-union-approves-pro-hamas-antisemitic-resolution-calling-for-boycott-of-apartheid-jewish-state-critics-say/.
  5. Shuham, Matt. “A Public Defenders Union Debated a Pro-Palestinian Resolution. Then Came the Backlash.” HuffPost, November 22, 2023. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/association-legal-aid-attorneys-public-defenders-palestinian-israel-resolution_n_655d2541e4b0c91d8278efcd.
  6. Lacy, Akela. “Public Defenders Get Restraining Order to Block Their Own Union from Voting on Gaza Statement.” The Intercept, December 6, 2023. https://theintercept.com/2023/11/17/public-defender-gaza-legal-aid-bronx-defenders/.
  7. “About ALAA.” ALAA. Accessed January 15, 2024. https://www.alaa.org/about-alaa.
  8. Quinnell, Kenneth. “Pride Month Profiles: Lisa Ohta: AFL-CIO.” AFL-CIO, June 21, 2022. https://aflcio.org/2022/6/21/pride-month-profiles-lisa-ohta.
  9. “Hundreds Mobilize across the United States for a Fair Contract as NDS Continues Focus on Expansion.” ALAA, July 31, 2023. https://www.alaa.org/media-releases/hundreds-mobilize-across-the-united-states-for-a-fair-contract-as-nds-continues-focus-on-expansionnbsp.
  10. “Legislation.” ALAA. Accessed January 15, 2024. https://www.alaa.org/legislation.
  11. “Legislation.” ALAA. Accessed January 15, 2024. https://www.alaa.org/legislation.
  12. Lee, Mike. “Union Backs LGBTQIA+ Worker Initiative.” District Council 37, September 2022. https://www.dc37.net/news/PEP/9_2022/union_backs.
  13. “Coalitions & Campaigns.” ALAA. Accessed January 15, 2024. https://www.alaa.org/coalitions-campaigns.
  14. “Media Releases.” ALAA. Accessed January 15, 2024. https://www.alaa.org/media-releases.
  15. Alaa. “Resolution Calling for a Ceasefire in Gaza, an End to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine, and Support for Workers’ Political Speech.” ALAA, December 20, 2023. https://www.alaa.org/media-releases/resolution-calling-for-a-ceasefire-in-gaza-an-end-to-the-israeli-occupation-of-palestine-and-support-for-workers-political-speech.
  16. “Resolution Calling for a Ceasefire in Gaza, an End to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine, and Support for Workers’ Political Speech.” ALAA, December 20, 2023. https://www.alaa.org/media-releases/resolution-calling-for-a-ceasefire-in-gaza-an-end-to-the-israeli-occupation-of-palestine-and-support-for-workers-political-speech#:~:text=Resolution%20Calling%20for%20a%20Ceasefire,for%20Workers’%20Political%20Speech%20%E2%80%94%20ALAA.
  17. “Statement on Resolution from (ALAA), UAW Local 2325.” Legal Aid Society, November 15, 2023. https://legalaidnyc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Statement-on-Resolution-from-ALAA-UAW-Local-2325.pdf.
  18. Lacy, Akela. “Public Defenders Get Restraining Order to Block Their Own Union from Voting on Gaza Statement.” The Intercept, December 6, 2023. https://theintercept.com/2023/11/17/public-defender-gaza-legal-aid-bronx-defenders/.
  19. “Verified Complaint Seeking Plaintiffs, Temporary Restraining Order, Injunctive Relief and Damages.” New York State Unified Court System, November 16, 2023. https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/nyscef/ViewDocument?docIndex=wcgPGwBTmImfN6gbswBDKg.
  20. Lacy, Akela. “Public Defenders Get Restraining Order to Block Their Own Union from Voting on Gaza Statement.” The Intercept, December 6, 2023. https://theintercept.com/2023/11/17/public-defender-gaza-legal-aid-bronx-defenders/.
  21. “Statement by Alaa in Response to the Dissolution of the Temporary Restraining Order.” ALAA, December 18, 2023. https://www.alaa.org/media-releases/statement-by-alaa-in-response-tonbspthe-dissolution-of-the-temporary-restraining-order.
  22. Lacy, Akela. “Public Defenders Get Restraining Order to Block Their Own Union from Voting on Gaza Statement.” The Intercept, December 6, 2023. https://theintercept.com/2023/11/17/public-defender-gaza-legal-aid-bronx-defenders/.
  23. Shuham, Matt. “A Public Defenders Union Debated a Pro-Palestinian Resolution. Then Came the Backlash.” HuffPost, November 22, 2023. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/association-legal-aid-attorneys-public-defenders-palestinian-israel-resolution_n_655d2541e4b0c91d8278efcd.
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Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (UAW Local 2325)


New York, NY