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Cannabis Worker Resilience Partnership Bilingual Attorney Job Openings

LASO Farmworker Program, NWJP, and OLC Farmworker Program each seek an attorney (three total) for an innovative partnership to support cannabis industry workers in Oregon.

The Cannabis Worker Resilience Partnership is a holistic, multi agency collaboration to support workers in the illegal cannabis industry facing wage theft, labor trafficking, dangerous work conditions and retaliation. The Partnership includes community-based organizations providing humanitarian assistance, legal services programs engaging in outreach, community education and legal representation and mental health organizations providing support and referrals. The positions are funded through the end of 2025.

Cannabis Worker Resilience Legal Partners

Legal Aid Services of Oregon (LASO):
LASO is a non-profit organization that represents low-income clients in civil cases. LASO’s eight regional offices serve the general low-income population throughout the state and two specialized statewide programs provide services to farmworkers and representation on Native American issues. LASO is an effective, high-quality legal services program that is committed to advocacy strategies having the broadest possible impact on client community problems. LASO is actively working to build an inclusive organizational culture that centers on racial equity. LASO is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce and providing a welcoming
and culturally responsive environment for our staff and clients.

The Farmworker Program consists of eight staff, including attorneys and paralegal/outreach workers. The majority of our clients speak Spanish or one of the Mesoamerican indigenous languages such as Mixteco, Triqui or Zapoteco. We emphasize areas of the law that community members tell us are most important to them and where representation and advocacy can achieve long term change. We work together with our clients to overcome the challenges they face including systemic racism, unpaid wages, poor working conditions, unsafe housing, and other forms of discrimination and retaliation for the exercise of their legal rights. We use strategies
including community education, legal representation, and systemic advocacy.

Northwest Workers’ Justice Project (NWJP):
NWJP protects workplace dignity by supporting the efforts of low-wage, immigrant and contingent workers to improve wages and working conditions and to eliminate imbalances in power that lead to inequity. NWJP works to bring the values of collaboration and shared leadership, courage and adaptation, empowerment, and respect of cultural differences to its workplace culture and all of its work in the community.

NWJP has seven attorneys and four paralegals/support staff that work collaboratively together and with our clients to build power as a way of dismantling structural racism and inequities. NWJP’s staff offers high-quality, direct legal assistance to workers and their organizations; supports organizing efforts; educates workers, their leaders and the public about workplace rights; advocate for better employment laws; and promotes greater access to low-cost employment legal assistance. NWJP serves workers all over Oregon and engages in litigation and policy advocacy regionally and nationally.

Oregon Law Center (OLC):
OLC is a legal services program committed to achieving justice for the low-income communities of Oregon by providing a full range of the highest quality civil legal services. OLC operates eleven regional offices, a state support unit, legislative advocacy unit, and statewide farmworker program. OLC is committed to achieving justice for the low-income communities of Oregon. Our client communities include people of color, farmworkers, LGBTQIA+ people, immigrants, seniors, people with lived experiences of homelessness, veterans, people with disabilities, and people from other underrepresented groups. It is essential to our work to serve clients that we also work to create an inclusive and respectful workplace in which differences are acknowledged and valued. OLC is actively working to build an organizational culture that centers racial equity.

OLC’s Gresham Farmworker office comprises three attorneys (including one managing attorney) and one community educator/outreach worker as part of a larger Farmworker Program. The Farmworker Program sets priorities according to client need; current priorities include employment, occupational safety and health, housing, and civil rights. Most of our clients speak Spanish or one of the indigenous languages native to Mexico and Central America, such as Mixteco, Triqui, Zapoteco, Mam, and Akateco. They experience a wide variety of legal problems, including unpaid wages, inadequate housing, unsafe work conditions including excessive heat, hazardous chemicals, violence, and sexual harassment. The most common form of discrimination they face is retaliation for asserting their legal protections.

Position Description:
This is a unique and exciting opportunity to work with partners to provide innovative legal assistance to immigrant workers in the cannabis industry with one of Oregon’s three workers’ rights legal nonprofit organizations. Together with the low-wage, contingent and immigrant workers we represent, we will work to dismantle structural racism and inequities and help eradicate extremely exploitative working conditions. The central activities of the positions are client counseling and representation, outreach and education, support of worker-led advocacy, public education, and collaboration with legal and community partners. While primarily focused on workers’ rights law, the attorneys will support some workers with immigration legal needs, including screening for possible referrals and supporting them with affirmative- relief based on their employment cases. We are looking for attorneys committed to strategically using their legal training to create long-term change for working people.

The position requires the ability to work well with colleagues and a variety of external partners including unions, civil and immigrants’ rights organizations, law enforcement agencies and community and advocacy groups.

Required qualifications:
● Demonstrated ability to take direction and guidance from low-income clients and
their self-identified priorities;
● Experience working with diverse communities and demonstrated cultural
competence in addressing the legal needs of immigrant workers;
● Commitment to developing litigation and other advocacy skills;
● A high degree of initiative and ability to manage a litigation caseload;
● Excellent communication, writing, organizational and research skills;
● Ability to work independently and as a team player;
● Ability to think creatively and a willingness to implement unconventional legal
strategies to blaze new legal trails;
● Demonstrated commitment to social justice, as well as a desire to disrupt existing
systems of oppression;
● Willingness to work irregular hours on occasion to meet the needs of clients;
● Proficiency in spoken and written Spanish; and
● Oregon bar accreditation, or ability and willingness to obtain it as soon as
possible.

Preferred qualifications:
● Demonstrated litigation skills.
● Experience in employment law.
● Demonstrated commitment to workers’ rights.

How to apply:

Review of applications and interviews will begin immediately and continue until the positions are filled. We would like the successful applicant to start no later than November 1, 2022, but preferably before. Applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

LASO, NWJP and OLC are collecting applications for all three open positions. First round interviews will be with representatives from all three organizations, while second round interviews (and job offers) will be extended by each organization individually.

Please send a cover letter, resume, writing sample and a list of three references to Julie Samples, Oregon Law Center at jsamples@oregonlawcenter.org. Please include the posting you are applying for in the subject line. You may indicate which organization you would like to work for, but all applicants will be considered by all organizations initially.

LASO, NWJP and OLC strive to be affirming, positive, diverse work environments and are equal opportunity employers. We strongly encourage applicants who will contribute to our diversity and/or who come from our client communities to apply.

Salary:

Salaries vary slightly between organizations, but are based on union-negotiated contracts and depend on experience. As an example, a successful candidate with 0-5 years of experience working full time would expect to make approximately $60,000 to $69,000 a year, but applicants with more experience are encouraged to apply. Placement on the union scale is determined by years of relevant attorney experience. Additional compensation for bilingual abilities.

All three organizations provide health care benefits, retirement benefits, and generous paid holidays, vacation and sick leave. More details about individual organizations’ benefits will be available through the application process.

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