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Bird Union Brings Fight for Fair Pay to Women in Conservation Fundraiser

Yesterday, the National Audubon Society hosted a luncheon in New York City to celebrate the achievements of women in the conservation movement. But members of the Bird Union (CWA Local 1180) gathered outside to highlight the organization’s systemic unequal pay for women and BIPOC employees, which makes it difficult for the next generation of women in conservation to build a successful and impactful career.

Union members have been negotiating with Audubon for more than two years without reaching an agreement for a fair first contract. In December, Audubon announced merit-based, discretionary annual raises for staff but withheld raises for union members.

Members of the Bird Union-CWA delivered a new report to Audubon leadership exposing systemic pay disparities. In one job category, white men on average make 13 percent more than white women and 16 percent more than BIPOC women.

“My merit-based salary increase and cost-of-living raise are being withheld for being a Union member,” said Emily Ohman, a Bird Union-CWA member from California. “If this was not disgraceful enough, I have to work a part-time job just to make ends meet. I have been food insecure for the totality of my time at this job and have experienced such extreme bouts of acute hunger that I have forgone meals for multiple days so I could afford to pay my bills. We’ve had enough of the discretionary pay raises that perpetuate unequal pay.”

To achieve equitable wages and a more sustainable workforce, union members are calling on Audubon to abandon its arbitrary and opaque system of discretionary pay increases ostensibly based on merit and instead commit to regular and equitable cost-of-living increases.

Take a stand with Bird Union activists, sign the petition for a fair contract!

Bird Union NYC 
Bird Union (CWA Local 1180) members rallied for pay equity in New York City.