Toni Pelt

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11/03/2020 @ 04:48 am

NOW broke my feminist heart This is a review of working at National NOW?s National Action Center in Washington, DC. This is a review of working for the current leadership at NOW, as of June 2018. Beware of other reviews from people who volunteered/interned/worked for local NOW chapters and contractors. They do/did NOT work for National NOW in DC, or for the current president. Cons are literally everything, other than the health insurance. Working at National NOW has been, by far, the most disappointing job I have ever had. 1. NOW claims to be a feminist organization, yet the leadership is decidedly unfeminist. I have never in my life experienced such an abusive, toxic work environment. They are total hypocrites when it comes to claiming to fight for women?s rights and the way staff are treated in the office. Staff, especially junior staff, are treated like they do not matter one bit, are completely disposable, and contribute absolutely nothing to the organization or life in general. 2. The president is emotionally, verbally, and physically abusive to staff. She has never faced repercussions for this behavior. (Ending violence against women is supposedly one of NOW?s core issues.) 3. There is absolutely no HR at NOW. There is no one to advocate for employees. There is no one who employees can report abuses to. There is no one to update NOW employment policies, or mediate for employees when the president decides she will no longer follow stated policies (per the employee handbook) on a whim. 4. There were multiple instances when our retirement and Metro benefits were messed up. As I mentioned, NOW has absolutely no HR, so it was up to the individual employee to fight for what was rightfully ours (money that came out of our paychecks that was supposed to go into our retirement and/or Metro accounts). 5. The president?s main goal seems to be to get HER face on television and HER name in articles. She does not seem to care about promoting NOW as an organization. 6. The president has hired her totally unqualified relatives and friends for jobs that do not get advertised to current staff or the public prior to getting filled by these people. In one case, she made up a new job specifically for her relative. None of these relatives and friends went through proper employment vetting to see if they are even a right fit for the job or organization. 7. Prior to the officer elections in July 2017, there were 14 employees (not including the president and vice president) at NOW. By June 2018, just two of those employees were left. The poor leadership and the culture in the office are so extremely toxic that nearly everyone has jumped ship. None of the employees who left had been replaced on a full-time basis by the time I also left NOW. NOW expects junior staff to take on significant extra responsibilities to fill the holes in staff. Many times, that extra work took me away from my actual job, which put me so far behind in my actual responsibilities. 8. The pay is very low for junior staff, especially considering the extraordinary amounts of work junior staff do. Multiple people on staff had multiple jobs to make ends meet. In the time I worked at NOW, there were no cost of living increases or merit-based increases. In previous NOW leadership administrations, employees at least received a cost of living adjustment. DC is not a cheap place to live. (Economic justice for women is supposedly one of NOW?s core issues.) 9. Staff are not given the resources and support from the president or organization to excel in their jobs. 10. There is a ton of racism, ageism, transphobia, and general bigotry within the National Action Center and organization as a whole. NOW is not a diverse organization at all, and the views of the leadership, senior staff, and general membership are reflective of that. (Racial justice and LGBTQIA+ rights are supposedly two of NOW's core issues.) Advice to Management 1. Step down. You are a detriment to what could be a great organization. You are an embarrassment to feminist activism. 2. Do not seek out positions you are completely unqualified for. 3. It is the 21st century. Computer skills are a necessity in the workplace. Staff should not have to repeatedly teach you how to do the bare minimum, such as send emails, save documents, and open PDFs. Those basic skills should have been a requirement for the positions you hold. There are many free or low-cost introductory computer classes offered. Take at least one, and take notes during. 4. Officers and senior staff like to talk about their activism in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. What have you done lately? Times have changed, and you are still stuck enforcing 20+ year old tactics that are no longer relevant, which assists in making NOW completely irrelevant as an organization. Get with the times, or let a new generation of leaders take over. 5. Stop the racism, ageism, and anti-LGBTQIA+ and other bigotry in the National Action Center and organization as whole. 6. Treat people like they are not disposable, useless things that can be put out on the curb with the trash. You may find people are happier in their jobs and are not scrambling to get out of NOW as soon as possible. 7. The National NOW board should reconsider the qualifications that would permit someone to become president or vice president of NOW.

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