News →

Diversity Richmond employees are ending their strike after the nonprofit met their demands

Box truck
A Diversity Richmond truck parked outside of Diversity Thrift this week as employees protested for improved working conditions. (Photo: Meg Schiffres/VPM News)

Employees of Diversity Richmond who’ve been on strike for almost a week plan to return to work after their demands for safer working conditions at the LGBTQ+ nonprofit were largely met by the administration.

Striking employees and over a hundred protesters called on Diversity Richmond’s Board of Directors to commit to several demands, including $16 per hour base pay, an increase in the number of full-time employees, and the firing of president and executive director Bill Harrison and controller Dia Idleman, who they say concealed a sexual harassment scandal at the thrift store.

On Friday, the nonprofit committed to increasing its base pay rate to $15 an hour. In a statement released on their website, they said they’ll also be fulfilling several other demands, including  paying striking employees for all the hours they were scheduled to work since the strike began.

They’re also committing to hiring more staff members as quickly as possible, and to mandating sexual harassment training for all employees, as requested by protesters.

Diversity Richmond also says it will fulfill protesters’ demands to hire an independent human resources manager, ban employees involved in the sexual harassment complaint from being re-hired, and launch an independent investigation into the organization structure, culture and policies.

According to their statement, Idleman has been put on administrative leave pending an investigation into her workplace practices, which they say are unrelated to finance. They say Harrison has chosen to retire from Diversity effective Nov. 10.

Jeremy Stump is a truck driver at Diversity’s thrift store and one of the leaders of the strike. He says this win is thanks to support from the community.

“We all realize how big this is, and how much not only we did, but the rest of the community that showed up in support and really helped make this change. And it’s a change that is lasting,” Stump said.

Stump says he and the rest of the striking employees plan to return to work. But, that doesn’t mean negotiations for better working conditions are over.

“What I’m focused on is getting my coworkers the opportunity to work full-time, so that they may receive benefits that they desperately need,” Stump said. “Because as of right now, given that the minimum base pay will be increasing to $15 an hour, those who qualify and rely on Medicaid right now will not qualify starting Dec. 1.”