VIDEO: Lawyers for the poor explain reasons for strike

Some 200 lawyers and other employees of the city’s largest provider of civil legal services have been on strike for nearly a month, protesting benefit cuts they say will hurt the organization’s ability to provide quality legal counsel to poor families.

Legal Services NYC’s union employees had been working without a contract since July 2012 up until last month, when they walked off the job after rejecting an offer that would have slashed their health care benefits.

The non-profit works to protect tens of thousands of low-income clients from eviction, foreclosure, domestic violence, deportation and loss of public benefits. It expects to lose about a third of its federal funding by 2015 due to the sequester.

“Our health insurance costs are the highest among comparable organizations in the City,” a post on the LSNYC Web site explained. “This combination of funding cuts and high health insurance expenses forced us to reduce staff by 40 people in 2012. Unless we take action to reduce costs now, we will be forced to make many more layoffs by the end of 2014.”

But the striking lawyers have argued that shifting revenue sources come with the territory in nonprofit work, pointing out that LSNYC still expects over $10 million in working capital surplus at the close of 2013.

A number of LSNYC lawyers, paralegals and other supporting staff teamed together to produce a video explaining their reasons for striking, arguing that the proposed cuts to benefits would hurt the organization’s ability to attract quality legal talent—and keep it long enough for the lawyers to gain a real understanding of the communities they serve.

“Everybody deserves a good, qualified, experienced attorney, especially in civil matters where there is no right to counsel,” said Maura McHugh Mills, an LSNYC staff attorney based in the Bronx.

Follow Emily Johnson on Twitter @emilyjreports


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.