Heartland Alliance has a union of its own already, Diaz said, and she claims it has a great relationship with the union. Still, that didn’t stop workers from turning down what she describes as great offers or protesting during contract negotiations late last year.
“All of these activities were lawful and protected and in the end we got a contract,” Diaz said. “But we had labor disruption.”
Though workers at Heartland Alliance who were fighting for a new contract described a different scenario to WBEZ in November. They painted a disparity where workers on the front line — many whom have master’s degrees — earned less than $40,000 while executives like Diaz earned over $350,000 and offered marginal contract concessions.
Heartland Alliance didn’t respond to a request for comment following the hearing.
Those sitting on the joint committee simply didn’t buy what Diaz and the other nonprofit leaders were selling. Instead, many were critical of their perceived anti-union rhetoric.
Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd) told the Illinois Answers Project she was disheartened by Diaz’s comments and she walked away angry. Rodriguez Sanchez had worked in the nonprofit sector for years before becoming an alderperson.
“The industry doesn’t really have work stoppage issues because workers are scared to organize and fear retribution,” Rodriguez Sanchez said. “The labor peace agreement is a very simple legislation that would require a nonprofit that gets money from the city not engage in paid union busting.”
Rodriguez Sanchez agreed that more needs to be done to fund these services but she is aware that some of these nonprofits have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in hiring anti-union consultants.
“Instead of using that money for those consultants, they can use it for services or their employees,” Rodriguez Sanchez said. “We gave them a chance to tell