NCJW Supports Jennifer Sung. Here’s why:
A union organizer-turned-labor attorney, Jennifer Sung has spent her career advocating for workers’ rights. She is currently a member of the Oregon Employment Relations Board, hearing labor disputes from thousands of workers covered by collective bargaining agreements in the public and private sectors. Prior to this, Sung worked at several law firms representing labor organizations and employees in civil litigation, arbitration and agency proceedings, contract negotiations, policy development, and professional licensing matters. Early in her legal career, Sung served as a clerk on the very court to which she has been nominated. Before entering the legal field, Sung worked for Service Employees International Union organizing workers to more effectively bargain with their employers. If confirmed, Sung would be the first AAPI judge from Oregon on the Ninth Circuit, the third AAPI woman to ever serve on a US Court of Appeals, and would have the most experience working at a labor union of any sitting judge on the Ninth Circuit.
Jennifer Sung’s stance on important issues:
While at Yale Law School, Jennifer Sung worked as a student attorney in the law school’s civil rights clinic where she represented uninsured and underinsured patients at a Yale affiliated hospital. The patients were in debt because of crushing hospital bills despite the hospital’s “free bed fund,” which was intended to alleviate the financial burdens of poor patients.
Sung was part of the litigation team that successfully stopped a California county from cutting in-home services to low-income individuals with disabilities.
During her two year fellowship at the Brennan Center, Sung helped draft a Chicago ordinance requiring big box retailers to provide a living wage to employees. As an associate at Altschuler Berzon LLP, Sung represented warehouse workers who were victims of wage theft.
Sung represented the Service Employees International Union as amicus before the Fourth Circuit urging the court to uphold the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, challenged by Virginia and struck down by the district court. The Fourth Circuit court, and eventually the US Supreme Court, upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate. While at the Brennan Center, Sung advised the New York Working Families Policy in developing a proposal to tax companies that failed to provide health benefits for their workers.
Sung has spent the bulk of her career as a labor lawyer, frequently representing unions and worker’s groups. Sung represented the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals in a case where a hospital violated nurses’ contracts by unilaterally scheduling them to work
on their days off. Sung helped secure an agreement that included an order requiring the
employer to avoid scheduling nurses to work on their regular days off in most cases. She also represented professors at Portland State University in a case before the Oregon Employment Relations Board. The Board found that the university interfered with the professors’ protected union rights. And, Sung represented a union challenging two Arizona laws that prohibited constitutionally protected speech by unions and their members, in which the First Amendment rights of union members were upheld.
Jennifer Sung’s experience and education:
Jennifer Sung has spent her entire career representing unions and workers’ rights organizations. She worked at several law firms, including as a partner at McKanna Bishop Joffe, LLP, representing labor organizations and employees in civil litigation, arbitration and agency proceedings, contract negotiations, policy development, and professional licensing matters. At Altshuler Berzon LLP, Sung gained significant experience in class action and constitutional litigation. Prior to entering the legal field, Sung worked for six years as an organizer for two different local Service Employees International Unions.
Education and Clerkships:
Sung graduated from Oberlin College and received her JD from Yale Law School, where she was co-chair of the Workers’ Rights Projects. Sung earned a prestigious clerkship with Judge Betty Binns Fletcher on the very court to which she has been nominated. Following her clerkship, Sung completed a two year Skadden Fellowship in the Economic Justice Project of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, where she focused on improving wages and working conditions for low-wage workers, drafted model legislation and testified before state legislatures in support of increased wages and improved access to health care.
Oregon’s bipartisan Senate confirmed Sung unanimously to the Oregon Employment Relations Board; she was reappointed to the Board for another four-year term in 2020. An impartial adjudicator on the Board, Sung has decided over 200 cases during her tenure, both for and against unions and employees. The Oregon Court of Appeals has reversed only three of her decisions.
Professional Affiliations and Pro Bono Work:
Sung is a member of the Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Oregon Minority Lawyers Association, and Oregon Women Lawyers. She has helped to expand efforts to further equity and diversity in the profession, including providing grants to law students in unpaid or low-paid summer internships.