Union Organizing Pressures at Los Angeles’s AIDS Healthcare Foundation

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September 24, 2013; Los Angeles Times


The intersection of organized labor and the nonprofit sector is always interesting. Abby Sewell of the Los Angeles Times reports that medical staff at clinics run by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation are looking to unionize under the National Union of Healthcare Workers. They claim that the Foundation’s leadership, according to Sewell, “has lost sight of its mission and patient are is suffering.”

The medical staff filed at the end of July with the National Labor Relations Board, but the Foundation says that the staff petition for union representation is not valid because the some of the employees are actually supervisors. The foundation’s founder and president, Michael Weinstein, describes the union move as “tainted” due to the involvement of “middle managers” who he believes have “put a lot of pressure on rank-and-file employees.”


The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is certainly not a small nonprofit. Its 2011 Form 990 shows it as having raised $141.9 million, spent $101.7 million, with a surplus from that year of $40.1 million. Its fund balance increased in 2011 by 73.4 percent. Due to the vagaries of how nonprofits receive multi-year grants, having to count them in the year they were received despite the grantmakers’ intent that they are spent over time, it is difficult to know whether the growth of revenues in 2011 represents a financial anomaly or a synoptic leap in the organization’s financial size and strength. Here is the comparative financial data:





Fund Balance


























Still, its revenues have doubled since 2008, rising throughout the recession, but its fund balance has tripled. These are the kinds of financials that often spark employees—whether middle managers or rank-and-file—to think about their labor rights.—Rick Cohen