200 Austin Pets Alive! Workers to Cast Historic Union Vote on May 1

AUSTIN, Texas, April 16, 2024 – Austin Pets Allied Workers (APAW) at Austin Pets Alive! (APA) animal shelter are gearing up for a historic milestone as they prepare to cast their ballots on May 1 to decide whether to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) District 776. The National Labor Relations Board has confirmed that mail-in ballots will be sent out on Wednesday, May 1, the same day that the onsite vote will take place, with the final tally of both mail-in ballots and in-person votes scheduled for Friday, May 24.

With the support of the IAM and the National Veterinary Professionals Union (NVPU), APAW has embarked on a groundbreaking journey toward establishing the largest animal shelter union in the nation. This pivotal moment comes after securing signatures on union cards from a majority of approximately 200 APA workers. 

The APAW Organizing Committee is dedicated to championing the interests of animals and frontline animal care workers.

“We are committed to engaging with each of our colleagues at APA to convey the benefits of union membership in fostering a more conducive working environment,” said the APAW Organizing Committee. “This vote signifies an opportunity for us to advocate for the animals under our care and the rights of fellow caregivers.” 

Despite APA management and the Board of Directors’ reluctance to voluntarily recognize the staff Union, APAW remains steadfast in its pursuit of fair representation. Contract negotiations will address critical issues ranging from workplace safety and animal welfare policies to equitable compensation and employment practices.

With support from the NVPU, the IAM recently organized animal shelter workers in Chicago.

Austin Pets Allied Workers (APAW) is the worker-created and worker-led union of Austin Pets Alive! Started in 2023, its members seek to ensure their workplace and the animal welfare industry as a whole adopts more sustainable, safe, and equitable practices. The organization boasts a diverse membership, with representation from across varied departments and species. All members share in common the love and care they have for our animals past, present, and future, which fuels their hope for a better future. While growing stronger every day, the Organizing Committee works to invite more workers into the fold.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is among the largest unions in North America and represents nearly 600,000 active and retired members in the manufacturing, aerospace, defense, airlines, transportation, shipbuilding, woodworking, health care, and other industries. 

The National Veterinary Professionals Union was established in 2017 with the primary goal of making veterinary support a sustainable, life-long career.  In order to fulfill this goal, we are working to build collective power among workers in the veterinary health and animal care profession.  We believe in the power of collective action and healthy collaboration with veterinary and animal care employers to create improvements in workplace safety, training, benefits, and pay. We believe that taking good care of veterinary and animal care workers allows them to provide the best care for animals and the people who love them.

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