Legal aid attorneys in New York City are fighting low wages and overwork as thousands face eviction. | Media Pyro


In New York City, legal aid attorneys and support workers are responsible for providing legal advice to low-income tenants facing eviction served by the Legal Aid Society and Legal Services, agencies non-profit that contracts with the city to provide these services. These workers are members of United Auto Workers (UAW) locales 2325 and 2320, respectively. Legal Aid and Paralegals are the lowest paid attorneys and paralegals in New York City, which is among the most expensive cities in the world.

Legal aid lawyers protest evictions outside New York City Court in Brooklyn in June 2020 [Photo: Association of Legal Aid Attorneys – UAW 2325]

Legal Aid Lawyers have been without a contract for four months, under conditions of insufficient pay and overwork due to the forceful eviction of tenants due to the epidemic and its economic consequences. Legal Services employees are working under an existing contract that is not subject to a raise. None of these critical issues were addressed by the UAW. This is despite the fact that the city still adheres to the rules regarding both.

The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 greatly increased the lack of previous homes. As the economic impact of the pandemic intensified, an increasing number of working-class families were unable to pay their monthly rent. To prevent the inevitable social explosion, the state of New York imposed a temporary ban on evictions for non-payment of rent.

However, when the ruling class is able to spend billions of dollars on the rescue and rush to release its “free” policy in order to contain the COVID and encourage people to work, the ban will be lifted. evict in January 2022. The result is a tidal wave of eviction proceedings initiated by landlords against tenants who are not entitled to such financial relief. However, they are still suffering from the negative effects of the epidemic, including rising inflation and rent, and the lack of advice has left many victims powerless to protest against the authorities. expensive rules of owners.

In 2017, more than two years before the epidemic began, New York City passed the Right to Counsel law, which established a legal target for low-income tenants. -money that is about to be fired. The Fair Advocacy Report for Fiscal Year 2021 boasted that since early 2020, 100 percent of tenants with calendar eviction cases have accessed legal services. A reported 71 percent of tenants who appeared in Housing Court were fully represented by attorneys, nearly double the pre-pandemic rate of 38 percent, and a significant increase from 1 percent of tenants had a lawyer in 2013.

But less than a year later, more than 17,000 tenants were threatened with eviction before landlords in court without lawyers, and on September 25, 6 percent Only a few of the evicted tenants went to court and had legal representation. Not surprisingly, this major move coincided with Democratic Governor Hochul’s lifting of the COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium through January 15, 2022, at the height of the Omicron epidemic. A federal moratorium has been lifted in August 2021, and all federal rental assistance has dried up.


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