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
Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

National

Detained Americans in North Korea seek U.S. help

Three US citizens detained in North Korea appealed to the U.S government for help returning home, speaking in rare interviews.

Gossip

Brad and Angelina honeymoon in Gozo

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have taken their brood to Gozo for a working honeymoon.

Entertainment

Where to place the blame in a nude…

When a celebrity's private photos are leaked online, it's easy to jump to the conclusion that they only have themselves to blame, since they took…

Gossip

Security expert weighs in on 'The Fappening' and…

We speak to Rik Ferguson, vice president of security firm Security Research at Trend Micro, about the hundreds of hacked celebrity photos that leaked.

Gossip

Who is Ashlee Simpson’s new husband anyway?

Find out five things about Ashlee Simpson's new husband, Evan Ross.

MLB

Cole Hamels, three other Phillies throw no-hitter

The Phillies had something to cheer about in September despite being mired in last place and struggling to figure out what their future looks like.…

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…

Career

The number of telecommuters is expected to nearly…

Until a few years ago, telecommuting was not considered a realistic option at most companies. But with technological advances like high-speed Internet and smartphones, more…

Wellbeing

Your new food ally to ward off type…

For people who may be headed for type 2 diabetes, regularly eating pistachios might help turn the tide, according to a small nutrition trial from…