A rally at NAR headquarters in Chicago drew few Realtors on Monday, but organizers at the NAR Accountability Project declared a win nonetheless after NAR lost its “Great Place to Work” merit.

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CHICAGO — A planned rally outside of the National Association of Realtors‘ headquarters in Chicago on Monday turned into an impromptu celebration after the embattled 1.56-million member trade organization lost its designation as a “Great Place to Work” late last week.

While turnout was weak outside NAR’s headquarters on North Michigan Avenue amid publicized plans to demonstrate, overcast skies and scattered support failed to derail organizers behind the NAR Accountability Project, who declared victory following news the organization had been stripped of its “Great Place to Work” designation Thursday, three years after first receiving the accolade.

“This is the heartbeat, the epicenter, of where the problem is and where the problem must end and must end now,” Accountability Project co-founder Jason Haber, a New York-based Compass agent on hand for the rally in Chicago, said Monday in front of what appeared to be a locked entrance at NAR headquarters.

The event was part of what NAR Accountability Project organizers described as a day of action for Realtors in the wake of revelations since earlier this summer that executives at the highest rungs of the organization were, allegedly, aware of misconduct, including sexual harassment by former President Kenny Parcell, who resigned in August following a New York Times investigation.

The front door of NAR’s headquarters in Chicago was locked on Monday afternoon. Photo by Taylor Anderson

Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, stood beside Haber as several members of security stood inside the Realtor Building and behind a small gathering of reporters at 430 N. Michigan Ave.

“I am here today to elevate the voices of folks experiencing abuse at the National Association of Realtors,” she said. “And to demand an end to the abuse and use of non-[disclosure] agreements, which serve to silence victims and insulate abusers and is a much-used tool of this organization.”

The NAR Accountability Project released a list of dozens of proposed speakers at an upcoming NAR conference in November, along with their contact information, and urged supporters to contact them. Haber said he wasn’t calling for speakers to withdraw from the event, noting that some rely on those speaking engagements for income.

“I know we’re on the right path,” Haber said on Monday. “If we weren’t doing this, no one else would, and they would just do whatever the hell they want to do. So we’ll see what kind of an impact we’ll make.”

“It’s working,” he added.

The stripped “Great Place to Work” certification was the latest sign of trouble for the trade organization as it battles allegations that its leadership fostered a hostile work environment and a history of covering up harassment.

Companies earn the certification by submitting an application and providing information to an organization called “Great Place to Work Institute.” Employees are then surveyed to independently verify their company’s claims. Certified companies can then use that information as a recruiting and retention tool.

The Realtor Building, headquarters for the National Association of Realtors, on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

In December 2021, CEO Bob Goldberg announced NAR had been certified for a second straight year and said it verified that the group treated its employees well.

“We are tremendously proud to be named a Great Place to Work for the second-consecutive year, which not only validates the care and attention we provide to each of our employees but also exemplifies the immense value we provide to our members on a continual basis,” Goldberg said in a statement at the time.

As of Monday, Goldberg still serves as NAR’s CEO. The board is set to have a meeting this afternoon, but the agenda is no longer available to the public.

Email Taylor Anderson

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