Independent Organizing Network

We, recent Suffolk Law School graduates and members of the NLG-Mass Chapter – Nick Adams, Tyler Daguerre, and Dave Runkle, are working on a new project, the Independent Organizing Network (I.O.N.)

I.O.N. is an initiative seeking to build a network of lawyers and legal volunteers specializing in labor and employment law to satisfy the legal needs of budding independent union organizing campaigns through until they develop the institutional infrastructure and resources to satisfy those needs independently. We seek to address the resource disadvantages faced by independent unions which often lead to failed organizing campaigns or force workers into the fold of bureaucratic business unions, undermining the autonomy and radical potential of rank-and-file workers.

I.O.N. sees as its inspiration the Mass Defense Committees of the NLG which aims to meet the criminal defense needs of social movements and individual activists.  We seek to replicate these mobilization structures to support independent unions from pre-filing to first contract through legal education, training, advice, and representation.

Currently, the team behind this project consists of three NLG-Mass members and three NLG-San Francisco Bay Area members, with plans to expand into Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C., and to establish a close working relationship with the National Labor and Employment committee and other leadership within the Guild. We are actively building our advocacy network of volunteer attorneys, law students, and labor-focused organizations, and would appreciate assistance and support from our fellow Guild members in doing so.

We seek to develop and administer legal education on state and federal laws with respect to workplace discrimination and harassment, unsafe working conditions, wage and hour, union organizing, and contract negotiation and administration, building off of resources we have prepared for other unionization campaigns.  We further seek to facilitate legal advice and representation between budding independent unions and volunteer attorneys on violation of the various above laws, representation petitions, administrative hearings, composition of foundational union documents, and whatever other needs the unions have that pro bono attorneys and legal workers can fulfill.

We do not yet know what our caseload will be.  We have several workplaces currently seeking assistance in organizing campaigns that will be launched later this fall, but what sort of caseload that creates will depend on a number of factors, including the success of the early movement, the employer’s reaction, and the capacity and activity of several government agencies, especially the NLRB in its post-Cemex decisions.

As for our general operational plan, we based it off of what we learned in the Unfair Labor Practice pilot project we debuted in the Starbucks Workers United organizing campaign.

We will collect requests and distribute assignments through Google’s environment of free online products.  

We envision starting with a small team of committed volunteers to process requests and expanding or contracting as the needs of the movement demand through the network we are working on developing.

We are reaching out to you, NLG members to see if you would be interested in working with the I.O.N. and providing your expertise in the event when your help and services are needed.

Please reach out to us if you would like to get involved and/or know of an organizing campaign that would benefit from such services.

We can be reached via email at