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The Democracy Collaborative and the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union announce the signing of the organization’s first staff contract


Washington, DC — November 14, 2019 The Democracy Collaborative (TDC) and the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union, IFPTE Local 70 (NPEU), are excited to jointly announce the signing of the organization’s first collective bargaining agreement.

This first three-year contract formalizes and expands the rights and protections of TDC employees in the workplace, provides increases in compensation and other job benefits, and establishes a shared vision for a healthy, productive, and effective organization. The contract goes into effect just over a year after TDC voluntarily recognized NPEU as the bargaining representative for eligible employees.

According to Ted Howard, President and Co-Founder of The Democracy Collaborative, “Since establishing TDC as a nonprofit research institute twenty years ago, we have always endeavored to provide best-in-class compensation and an empowering work environment for the staff that provide the indispensable foundation for our work to advance the democratic economy. As a rapidly growing organization, we see this contract as a natural way to continue and deepen that commitment.”

“This contract represents our bargaining unit’s commitment to making The Democracy Collaborative a model of the kind of workplace we advocate for every day,” said union bargaining representative and TDC staff member Katie Parker. “With 100 percent of the unit voting to ratify the contract, we are thrilled to move into this next phase of the organization and will continue to stand in solidarity with each other and workers everywhere as we work to advance TDC’s mission and vision for a more just and democratic economy.”

Highlights of the contract include:

  • Annual wage increases of 2.5% in year one, 2.5% in year two, and 2% in year three
  • Additional wage increases for employees making less than $57,000/year in order to reduce disparities for the lowest-paid employees
  • 99% of health insurance premiums covered by TDC, as well as disability insurance and a generous 7% employer contribution to a retirement savings plan
  • Formalization of pathways for career advancement with uniform salary bands and guaranteed minimum compensation
  • A robust grievance procedure and a just cause provision with a progressive discipline process
  • Codifying protections against harassment and discrimination, including explicit affirmation of workplace protections for transgender employees
  • Severance pay in the event of layoffs
  • Eight weeks of paid parental leave
  • Compensatory time for employees required to work exceptional hours
  • Implementation of open-book management based on best practices from other participatory organizational structures
  • The addition of a non-voting union observer role for open sessions of TDC’s Board of Trustees
  • An annual training on dismantling systemic oppression for all staff
  • The establishment of a Labor Management Committee, which will advance goals related to diversity and equity in hiring and retention, progressive procurement practices and sustainability, and building a healthy workplace environment and culture


The Democracy Collaborative, founded in 2000, is an international research and development lab for the democratic economy, headquartered in Washington, DC and Cleveland, Ohio. TDC works to advance models and pathways to an economic system where broad-based ownership and control creates more equitable and inclusive outcomes, fosters ecological sustainability, and promotes flourishing democratic and community life.  Learn more at 

Nonprofit Professional Employees Union, IFPTE Local 70, represents over a dozen nonprofit organizations, including employees at Economic Policy Institute, the Center for American Progress, and Community Change. With several hundred members, NPEU gives nonprofit workers a voice to strengthen their workplaces and continue to do work that makes a difference in people’s lives. Learn more at



John Duda, Director of Communications, The Democracy Collaborative, (202) 559-1473 x102

Katie Barrows, Vice President of Communications, Nonprofit Professional Employees Union, (360) 624-6936









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