MFJ, LSSA Agree to New 3-Year Contract, Ending Strike

Earlier this week, after months of bargaining, both MFJ and LSSA voted to ratify a previously reached Memorandum of Understanding to settle contract negotiations and end a strike, ratifying a new three-year contract. MFJ staff returned to work on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. MFJ and LSSA successfully reached numerous agreements – contract amendments, listed below – and a generous wage increase package. MFJ’s total package offered to LSSA addresses several stated Union priorities, including: 1) higher wages; 2) starting support staff and paralegal salaries at $60k per year; and 3) offering to hire a former temporary agency worker into the bargaining unit.

MFJ’s Wage Increases/Fiscal Package Offer

  • The wage increase package represents the largest percentage increase MFJ has provided in at least 18 years.
    • Pay equity for Paralegals and Support Staff by moving Support Staff to the higher Paralegal salary scale.
    • Paralegal/Support Staff scale increased to start at $60,000 (Step 1) instead of either $51,080 or $53,033.14.
    • Law graduate starting salary increase from $64,254 to $76,000.
    • New Attorney starting salary increases in 2024 as follows: Step 1 salary from $73,742.62 to $79,000; Step 2 salary from $76,744.98 to $81,000; Step 3 salary from $79,544.33 to $83,000.
    • Salary increases of 4% (2024); 3% (2025), and 3% (2026) on top of steps (excluding in 2024 the abovementioned positions that are subject to even higher increases in that year).
  • Total annual wage increases, including step* and salary increases, are as follows:





Support Staff

18.93% – 23.38%

4.21% – 7.93%

4.74%- 8.17%


13.14% – 18.82%

4.21% – 7.93%

4.74%- 8.17%

Law graduate





5.55% – 10.88%

4.40% – 9.52%

4.54%- 9.81%

Social worker

5.69% – 8.73%

4.67% – 8.59%

4.67%- 8.59%

     * Applicable to steps 1-21

  • All Staff One-Time Bonus in 2024: $2,350
  • Bonus (opt-in) of $3,500 to Support Staff for coming to the office 4 days and working remotely 1 day per week.
  • Bonus (opt-in) of $2,750 to Paralegals for interpretation; increase in existing bonus from $2,000 to $2,750 for Support Staff.  
  • Maintain 7.5% Employer contribution to 403(b) retirement plan.
  • Maintain 100% Employer paid healthcare premiums, notwithstanding 30% increase in costs to Employer this year, with LSSA ability to veto any potential change in provider (side letter).

Contract Amendments:


Remote Work

Employees may work remotely 2 days each week, including rotation schedule for Support Staff to ensure the front desk is staffed Monday – Friday to greet clients and other visitors.


Parental Leave

Increase paid leave from 12 weeks to 15 weeks; reduced sick day usage from 20 to 15 days; eligibility requirement reduced from 26 to 23 weeks of employment.


Bereavement Leave

All categories of loss, including a pregnancy loss, entitled to 7 days’ leave (increased from 1 day or 6 days, depending upon the employee’s relationship to the deceased).


Health Insurance Side Letter

 Renewal of the “Side Letter: Health Insurance” dated January 1, 2021, to be in effect for the term of the parties’ contract upon ratification of the next contract that maintains veto power for LSSA.


Interpretation Bonus

Expand eligibility to include paralegals in addition to support staff; bonus amount increased to $2,750.


Mobile Telephone Stipend

Add a $45 monthly stipend toward the cost of the employee’s personal mobile telephone expenses for employees who use a personal mobile telephone to perform their MFJ duties.


Educational Loan Fund

Annual $20,000 union-managed fund expanded to include undergraduate school debt.


Childcare Assistance Fund

Increased existing annual union-managed fund from $4,000 to $15,000.


Family Support and Gender Affirming Care

Added new $15,000 annual union-managed Fertility Treatment, Surrogacy, Adoption, and Gender Affirming Care fund that allows unused funds up to $10,000 per year to be rolled over into the next calendar year, capped at $10,000 per year.


Bar Exam Paid Leave

Paid study leave following first and second bar failures expanded from 2 to 5 weeks.


Reimbursement for Bar Review/Tutor

Bar review/tutor reimbursement following first and second bar failures increased from $2,000 to $3,000.


Third Bar Failure

Expanded right for input by staff to seek a waiver of termination after three bar exam failures.


Expanded Leave Time/Summer Fridays

Added new provision to provide for early closure at 2:00 p.m. each Friday between Memorial Day and Labor Day.


Work Hours

Expanded work hours to allow for more flexibility; starting as early as 7:00 a.m. to permit a 3:00 p.m. end time or as late as 10:00 a.m. to permit a 6:00 p.m. end time.


Grace Period, Arrival Time

The arrival time grace period for Support Staff expanded from 10 to 30 minutes; for all other staff expanded from 10 to 15 minutes.


Increased Payment for Healthcare Opt-out

The Employer will offer $3,000 annually to any employee who opts out of the Employer health insurance plan.  If the employee also takes all of their children off the plan, they will receive another $3,000 annually.


Advance Notice of Disciplinary or Investigatory Meetings

A new provision expanding Weingarten rights by providing advance notice to the Union of meetings in which suspension or discharge is implemented.


Written Warnings

A new requirement to provide notice of written warning to Union delegates; new time limits for Employer related to performance-related discipline.


Warning Expungement

Reduced from 18 to 12 months for expungement of a warning notice from employee’s personnel file.


Delegate Release Time

Doubled from 4 to 8 delegates for paid release time.


Release Time for Bargaining

The number of Bargaining Team members expanded from 4 to 6; expanded hours per week from 24 to 60 of paid release time.


Copies of Grants and Contracts

New provision obligating Employer to provide to the Union copies of contracts in Employer’s possession.


Litigation and Intake Support

Revised job description to allow for this role to include certain tasks that can be fulfilled remotely; and to reflect changes in filing papers and accessing files upon the Housing Court’s adoption of NYSCEF.


Offer of Employment for two former temp agency workers

Offer employment to two former temp agency workers into the bargaining unit, subject to standard hiring protocol.


Temporary Agency Workers

The maximum temporary agency worker retainment period reduced to 5 weeks.


Crossing Picket Lines/Struck Work

New provision affirming that MFJ will not solicit struck work and will push back against funders who try to assign work known to be from legal services providers on strike.

MFJ’s wage proposal is above or at parity with our sister organizations, including our generous healthcare benefits. Our hybrid workplace with increased paid time off and flexibility in both work hours and remote days reflects our commitment to supporting work-life balance.