New York – YogaWorks New York City teachers voted yes by an overwhelming majority to join the International Association of Machinists (IAM). Signing of YogaWorks makes the Machinists the first-ever union to represent yoga teachers and movement educators in the United States.
The IAM filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of 124 YogaWorks New York teachers in mid-October. Yoga workers had their first contract by mid-November.
The teachers organized around making yoga instruction a sustainable profession, with industry standards that provide for an ethical practice that also balances the needs of profit with the core tenets of Yoga.
Traditionally, the yoga and fitness industry was dominated by small “mom and pop” studios. Over the last decade, larger companies, with the backing of venture capitalist funds, have been buying up smaller studios and consolidating their market share.
The high-profile organizing campaign received support throughout the nation, including from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler and U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).