Media Contact

Marcus Benigno Director of Communications & Media Advocacy / 213-977-5249
Mikayla Robinson NOLSW Regional Organizer / 857-385-9030

March 2, 2020

LOS ANGELES — The ACLU of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) announced that it has voluntarily recognized the National Organization of Legal Services Workers Local 2320 (NOLSW) as its union.

Like at numerous nonprofits across the country that have recently unionized, staff at the ACLU SoCal sought a union to represent them in negotiations with its leadership.

"The ACLU has championed the rights of workers to organize unions since its inception nearly 100 years ago, beginning with efforts to counter union suppression of the 1920s," said Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU SoCal. "Today, we are proud to voluntarily recognize the union of our own staff and look forward to engaging in good faith bargaining with the NOLSW."

The Southern California affiliate of the ACLU was founded in 1923 after the Los Angeles Police Department banned striking longshoremen from meeting in public and then arrested author and muckraker Upton Sinclair for reading the First Amendment aloud at a rally.

"In light of our laudable history with labor and in solidarity with workers around the country at a time when unions are under assault, we are honored to join the growing movement of nonprofit workers unionizing their workplaces,” said Jacqueline Delgadillo, paralegal at the ACLU SoCal. "This step cements the ACLU SoCal's commitment to equity and inclusion from within."

The ACLU SoCal continues the fight for workers' rights to this day, led by its Economic Justice Project and often in partnership with labor organizations. The ACLU SoCal has long worked with labor to ensure that all people have the right to a living wage and equal, adequate access to health care.

"Congratulations to the workers at the ACLU SoCal on winning your union with overwhelming support. This is another victory in the growing movement of nonprofit workers unionizing,” said Pam Smith, president of NOLSW Local 2320.


The ACLU of Southern California works to defend the civil liberties of all people as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Through litigation, policy advocacy, media advocacy, and organizing, it fights to secure and protect the civil rights of all people — namely women, youth, people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, immigrants and refugees, members of minority religions, people with disabilities, people experiencing poverty or homelessness, and people who are incarcerated.


The NOLSW represents "justice workers" of all kinds, from LSC and non-LSC funded programs for the poor, human services agencies, protection and advocacy programs serving people with disabilities, labor law firms and union legal services funds, legal defense and education funds, constitutional rights defenders and more.