General Counsel

General Counsel

New York City, NY

Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, seeks an experienced lawyer to serve as its General Counsel.
Local 32BJ is a local union that represents 175,000 members in more than thirteen states and in the District of Columbia. The Union is dedicated to securing family-sustaining jobs for its members, has a robust program of organizing unorganized workers, and is an active participant in economic justice, racial justice, climate justice and other social justice campaigns throughout the country.

A. The Legal Work. The General Counsel manages all aspects of the legal work of Local 32BJ, reports to the President and the Officers of the Union, and works in collaboration with the Union’s department heads. The Local has an in-house legal staff comprised of fourteen attorneys and works with outside counsel in a number of cities on the East Coast. Examples of the legal work overseen by the General Counsel are the following:

        (1) Program support – organizing. 32BJ lawyers are called upon to represent the Union in representation and unfair labor practice proceedings before the NLRB, in drafting and enforcing recognition agreements, and in assisting organizers with their campaign narratives and strategies. Legal assistance provided in support of organizing also entails representation of workers in judicial proceedings to enforce federal and state labor standards and anti-discrimination laws.

        (2) Program support – collective bargaining and contract enforcement. Local 32BJ is a party to hundreds of different collective bargaining agreements. The legal department, working under the direction of the General Counsel, assists with all aspects of collective bargaining. The work includes contract enforcement, and the Union engages in a large number of arbitrations each year.

        (3) Political support. Local 32BJ engages in political advocacy at the federal, state and local levels. The legal department, working under the General Counsel, is called upon to develop legislative initiatives that will improve labor standards and increase work opportunities for workers in Local 32BJ’s jurisdiction, including, for example, legislative initiatives to strengthen pro-worker governmental procurement laws. The General Counsel must be familiar with these political processes and with the legal obstacles to legislative reform that must be navigated in order to achieve the Union’s objectives.
In each of the above three areas, the General Counsel also supervises the review and approval of all Union communications that reach the general public, including in all organizing, contract, political and legislative campaigns.

        (4) Institutional support. Local 32BJ operates in a highly regulated area. A number of federal, state and local laws will affect its work or impose burdens that it must meet. The General Counsel is responsible for ensuring that Local 32BJ is in compliance with all of the laws that regulate its work, including, for example, the LMRDA, federal and state campaign finance laws, and federal and state lobbying laws.
Local 32BJ is also a large institution with over 400 employees and offices in more than a dozen locations. The General Counsel acts as the primary legal advisor to the Human Resources Department, reviews (or assigns for review) contracts in the areas of real estate, maintenance, software, information technology, construction, banking, insurance and other areas.

         (5) Governance support. Local 32BJ is a growing union. Its leadership body is large and growing. The General Counsel is the primary adviser to the President and the officers of the Union on all matters related to governance and the governance structure of the Union.

B. Qualifications. Local 32BJ is looking for candidates with the following:

  • A strong history of working with unions on all of the areas outlined above: organizing, collective bargaining, political work, regulatory compliance, and governance;
  • A strong commitment to progressive social change, racial justice, a familiarity with the issues that are central to Local 32BJ’s work and vision, and a commitment to community and labor organizing;
  • A strong interest in supporting strategic campaigns, policy or research for unions or other advocacy organizations;
  • Strong technical research skills;
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively in politically sensitive and high-pressure environments;
  • A history of effectively managing staff;

C. Location. The general headquarters of Local 32BJ in located in New York City and the General Counsel’s office is in that building. Local 32BJ has offices in many other cities. The General Counsel may be called upon to travel to other cities from time to time.

D. Salary and benefits. The salary for the position will depend upon the candidate’s experience and qualifications. Local 32BJ also offers an excellent benefits package that includes employer-paid family medical and dental plans and a defined benefit pension.

E. Process. Local 32BJ expects to complete the hiring process in the next three months and anticipates that the attorney hired for this position will begin work in mid-August, 2021. Please forward an expression of your interest, together with a resume, to