Kansas Holistic Defenders has recognized Teamsters Local 696 as the bargaining agent for their team of public defenders, social workers and advocates.
KHD, a nonprofit organization, contracts with Douglas County to represent people charged in misdemeanor criminal cases in Douglas County District Court, among other services. Their team aims to provide clients the support they need to navigate the courtroom and beyond.
“Kansas Holistic Defenders provide much-needed legal support to Kansans who need it most,” Local 696 Secretary-Treasurer Matt Hall said in a news release. “The life-changing work these professionals provide is critical and deserves a strong union contract.”
John Baker, public defender with KHD, said the employees “couldn’t be more excited to have a union on our side.” They will now begin work on negotiating their first contract.
“We are looking forward to working with the Teamsters, who have effectively represented public defenders in other jurisdictions, and who have been a force for good in the mission of building strong, effective and healthy public defender offices,” Sam Allison-Natale, co-executive director of KHD, said in the release.
Teamsters Local 696 represents workers across northern Kansas, including school bus drivers, UPS workers and some groups of City of Lawrence employees.