14 U.S. Senators Urge Voluntary Recognition of The Public Interest Union

December 16, 2021


Kelly Russo, OPEIU Local 2, krusso@opeiu-local2.org

Grace Reckers, OPEIU Int’l, greckers@opeiu.org

WASHINGTON – In a letter sent Thursday to Doug Phelps, president of The Public Interest Network (TPIN), 14 U.S. Senators expressed support for TPIN employees in their efforts to form a union. The letter, written by Sens. Brown, Baldwin, Blumenthal, Booker, Smith, Schatz, Hirono, Casey, Van Hollen, Sanders, Warren, Padilla, Merkley and Wyden, urged TPIN leadership to voluntarily recognize The Public Interest Union and “work in a constructive manner to move to a collective bargaining process.”

The letter comes shortly after TPIN employees announced the formation of The Public Interest Union, a long-awaited moment for this supermajority of eligible staff. The Public Interest Union will be represented by the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), Local 2. Members of the Union requested voluntary recognition from management, stating that it will lead to a stronger, more equitable and effective workplace.

“Workers are the foundation of The Public Interest Network’s success. Clearly, they are motivated by a shared belief in the causes the Network supports. The organization will be best served by recognizing their commitment and desire to collectively bargain. We have a history of working with the OPEIU, and we know they also share a vision for empowering your workers to advance The Public Interest Network’s mission and values. We strongly discourage any interference, refusal to recognize the union, or strong-arm tactics to suppress this organizing campaign,” the senators wrote. “We trust that in the spirit of these core values you will work in a constructive manner to move to a collective bargaining process.”

The Public Interest Network (TPIN) is a nationwide nonprofit organization that encompasses around a dozen groups, including U.S. PIRG, Environment America, the Fund for the Public Interest, and others. Over the last 50 years, TPIN has trained thousands of organizers to advocate for a clean environment, safe marketplace, and a healthy democracy. The organization has led in such efforts as the fight for renewable energy and becoming a zero-waste society, from writing and passing some of the first bills for 100% renewable energy to passing the original bottle bill in Massachusetts.

“It’s really exciting to finally announce the formation of our union, and having the Senators’ support means the world to us,” said Mireille Bejjani, an Energy Justice Director based in the Northeast with TPIN. “We hope leadership will do what’s best for the network and its employees and recognize The Public Interest Union.”

All of the Senators who signed on to the letter are supporters of the PRO Act, a proposed bill which would restore the right of workers to freely and fairly form a union and bargain together for changes in the workplace.



The Public Interest Union represents those who carry the clipboards, the boxes of petition signatures and the social-change banner for The Public Interest Network. We are committed to building our workplace into the strongest and most-effective public advocate it can be. For more, visit twitter.com/TPINunion.


OPEIU Local 2 represents 8,000 working people in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. We empower workers to make change in their workplaces and in their communities. As the founder of the Nonprofit Employees United initiative, OPEIU also supports thousands of non-profit workers ​who have formed unions across the country. Members come from various backgrounds including museums, higher education, legal aid, hospitals, civil rights, social services, reproductive health, and more. We are constantly working to defend and advocate for not only our members' rights, but for the rights of all working people as well.