Independent Organizing Network (ION)

Who We Are
The Independent Organizing Network, or “I.O.N.,” is a recently-approved N.L.G. Massachusetts initiative, developed by three recent law school graduates and labor organizers, with the goal of providing pro bono legal support for workers who are attempting to unionize their workplaces independently (i.e. without the backing of an established labor union).

Why It’s Important
We’re living through a historic surge in labor activism, and while every workplace can and should be unionized, the question of who workers should affiliate with is less clear. Furthermore, not all unions are created equally, and if our goal is to support democratic, worker-driven movements, with strategies and ideologies that echo the politics of revolutionary class struggle, then many traditional “business” unions would not fit that criteria. In fact, a significant number of prominent unions do more to uphold the status quo than to challenge it. As a result, many workers have sought to create their own unions, seeking to build something new and bold that better aligns with the needs and interests of their coworkers. However, creating a new path forward is not without its risks, and one of the biggest hurdles that independent unions tend to face is not only finding legal support, but paying for it too. This is where I.O.N. comes in. I.O.N.’s purpose is to make it easier for workers to form their own unions, without having to choose between quality legal support or rank-and-file democracy.

What We’re Looking For
Our goal is to create a network of lawyers and workers rights’ organizations who can be ready to assist with this campaign and similar future campaigns. Based on prior experience, the workers will likely need help with:
● Protected class discrimination and EEOC filings;
● Pre-election hearings and NLRB procedures;
● Post-election certification;
● Correspondence between legal counsel of corporations;
● Contract language and negotiations;
● Workplace safety and OSHA violations;
● Immigration protections;
● FLSA claims; and
● Unfair labor practices and retaliation/termination claims.

Additionally, we are looking for law students with an interest in any of the above areas of law to assist our volunteer attorneys, correspond directly with rank-and-file workers, conduct detailed research, and develop and share comprehensive presentations and trainings.

If you’d like to be involved in this new initiative in any capacity (we’ll take any time or knowledge that you have), or if you’d just like to talk more about our initiative, please email us at

Additional Resources