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Judge: Environmental nonprofit has violated labor law

Judge: Environmental nonprofit has violated labor law

CHARLESTON (W.Va.) The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition broke federal labor law last year, causing tensions with workers who formed a Union, a judge ruled.

Paul Bogas, National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge, ruled this month that the Huntington, West Virginia-based non-profit had violated the National Labor Relations Act by firing 2 employees and disallowing protected union activity. Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

The organization will have to pay back two employees who were fired during contentious collective bargaining negotiations between the union and the nonprofit earlier in the month.

Workers voted in July for the union to be certified. They wanted a uniform pay scale, an equitable discipline strategy, and the right to union representation at meetings where pay, hours, advancement, layoffs, or other matters were discussed. Union members claimed that management had agreed to start collective bargaining negotiations Oct. 27, but then canceled the meeting because they couldn’t reach an agreement with union members who wanted a virtual meeting. The organization voted to dissolve in November.

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Retired officials of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Environmental groups feel they have lost a partner. They praise the nonprofit for its work in raising awareness about petrochemical development, and helping residents affected by surface-mining.

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