We are disappointed Brookings isn’t ready to voluntarily recognize our union yet

We are writing to share two updates. First, yesterday was the deadline that we gave Brookings for responding to our request for voluntary recognition. Unfortunately, Brookings senior management has informed us that they have not yet reached a decision, and will not be giving us an answer at this time.

We are disappointed in this answer, in particular because it does not respect the timeline that we had requested from management. This should be an easy decision for Brookings given that its own research demonstrates, time after time, the importance of unions.

While we hope that this isn’t the case here, slow-walking is a tactic that some employers use to dilute the strength and momentum of workers’ organizing efforts. In the event that Brookings does not want to recognize our union, we are likely to hear significantly more delays. Management at the Urban Institute, a similarly-minded organization whose union requested recognition on the same day as us, already signaled their intent to begin voluntary recognition last week. In fact, more than 90% of all workplaces organized by NPEU choose to voluntarily recognize their workers’ unions. To do anything but voluntarily recognize our union, and to do so promptly, would put Brookings significantly out-of-step with the vast majority of nonprofits that have organized.

While we are disappointed, we continue to hope that Brookings senior management is engaging in good faith on this issue. We have requested that management give us an answer on their intent to voluntarily recognize our union by this Friday, April 30.

We also wanted to share that support for our effort is widespread and growing within the Brookings community. Yesterday 45 scholars and senior staff members (and growing!) signed a public letter requesting that Brookings voluntarily recognize our union. Likewise, more non-supervisory staff continue to sign cards, adding to a growing supermajority in support of the organizing effort. By continuing to build our support, we can push Brookings management to make the right decision and voluntarily recognize us.

As John Allen said in his first remarks after taking office as president, “Brookings for me, and based on my life’s experiences, may be at this moment in history one of the most profoundly important engines of fact and truth and change…not just in America, but in the world.” We agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment. Which is why we are optimistic that, now that it has an opportunity to be an engine of truth and change within the think tank industry itself, Brookings will choose to lead.

In solidarity,

Brookings United

Thank you to the Brookings staff, community members, and elected officials who continue to stand in solidarity with our union.