NRDC staff moves to unionize

By Robin Bravender | 03/01/2023 04:27 PM EST

Employees at the Natural Resources Defense Council announced a unionization push this week.

Natural Resources Defense Council President and CEO Manish Bapna

Natural Resources Defense Council President and CEO Manish Bapna speaks at the National Press Club in Washington on Dec. 13, 2022. Francis Chung/POLITICO

Staff at the Natural Resources Defense Council have launched a unionization campaign, organizers announced, making the environmental organization the latest national green group to see a union organizing push in recent years.

Bruce Jett, an organizing director with the Washington-Baltimore News Guild, sent a letter to NRDC President and CEO Manish Bapna on Wednesday stating that the union — which represents news and nonprofit groups — is seeking to represent NRDC employees.

“We urge the Natural Resources Defense Council to join with The NewsGuild to champion the rights of your outstanding employees to perform the above activities as we undertake a respectful dialogue and move forward together with the transparent, inclusive and equitable mission of both The NewsGuild and your organization,” Jett wrote.


The NRDC union effort launched a Twitter account Wednesday saying that staff at the environmental group is “working to build an organization that treats workers with dignity and respect, listens to our concerns, and makes it easier for all of us to safeguard the planet and its people.”

Representatives of the unionization effort did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

NRDC, a New York-based environmental organization, was founded in 1970 and employs more than 700 people including lawyers, scientists, economists, policy advocates and others working across the United States and around the world.

Bapna, who took the helm of the organization in 2021, said in response to the union organizing push, “We support the role of organized labor in promoting economic justice and protecting workers and their families. We also respect the right of our employees to explore union representation.”

NRDC, Bapna added, “strives to treat its employees with dignity in a diverse and inclusive environment that supports fair compensation, personal growth, professional development and career advancement, consistent with our mission to help create a more sustainable and equitable world.”

Environmental groups including Defenders of Wildlife, the National Audubon Society and others have seen staff organize unions in recent years (Greenwire, Dec. 22, 2021).