Bernheimer Architecture Workers Form North American Industry’s First Union

The employees of Bernheimer Architecture have organized the first private sector union of architectural professionals in the United States under a voluntary recognition agreement, becoming some of the newest members of the IAMAW through their AWU (Architectural Workers United) campaign.

“We recognize that both the employer and employees in the field of Architectural work face constraints and challenges beyond the control of any individual firm, and that by working together we can uplift the profession and industry in ways that we could not by acting alone,” says the organization.

The organization further states that it will embark on this collective work centered on the following values:

  • Respect

“We believe that all of the work we do begins with treating each other with unconditional respect. If we want to create safe, beautiful spaces that truly benefit the communities they are designed for, we must first recognize the unique value that each team member brings to our work.”

  • Value

“If we respect our team, we will also fully value their labor. This means equitable compensation for all, regardless of race, gender, or position.”

  • Growth

“We also recognize that a healthy profession begins with a healthy education. The work we do in creating an effective office structure and work environment is directly connected to how we educate future workers.”

  • Transparency

“We seek clarity in how decisions are made internally and externally, ranging from individual employee career development to complex project funding sources.”

  • Impact

“The complexity of the problems facing architecture and the built environment are enormous, from the pervasive influence of capital to devastating climate change. Though we, as one practice, cannot impact these forces alone, we believe that forming and recognizing this union is a crucial step towards building solidarity industry-wide and will have a meaningful impact.”

“Architecture is a creative and wide-ranging discipline, bringing together many of the sectors and challenges we face today. Within this discipline, BA has been a progressive office at the fore-front of design, craft, and quality, affordable housing,” says the organization. “Though we are stepping into uncharted territory in many ways, we are overwhelmingly excited, and hopeful, to bolster the values that make BA special. We encourage and invite other practices to join us in this endeavor to reshape the industry at large.”