Austin Pets Alive! workers file to become nation’s largest animal shelter union

AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Thursday, Austin Pets Alive! (APA) animal shelter employees filed to become the largest animal shelter union in the country, according to a news release.

The release said APA employees filed a representation petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) requesting recognition of their union, Austin Pets Allied Workers (APAW).

The release said the majority of approximately 200 APA workers signed union cards with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, along with support from the National Veterinary Professionals Union.

The release called it a “historic event for both animals and their advocates.”

“APAW’s priorities are to ensure a just and sustainable workplace at APA, because we believe that APA can and should be a model for equity, stability, and safety in the animal care field. By giving workers on the frontlines of animal care a real seat at the table, we believe we can create a better and more just APA for pets and people alike.”

APA Employees

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APAW asked APA management and the Board of Directors to voluntarily recognize the union so they can start the process of collective bargaining, according to the release.

It said contract negotiations will cover issues such as:

  • workplace policies concerning the well-being and safety of both animals and employees

  • wage increases

  • benefits

  • fair employment practices

“I want to join with my co-workers to form a union because workers like me who are on the frontlines of animal care deserve to feel safe and supported in our mission-fulfilling work at APA. I know that a strong union contract negotiated by affected employees is the best way to make that happen, which will ultimately improve conditions for the animals in our care.”

Ryan Martinez, APA worker

KXAN reached out to APA and was waiting for a response.

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