Connecticut Humane Society loses National Labor Relations Board case that led to president’s exit

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2011:


NEWINGTON, Connecticut– National Labor Relations Board
Administrative Law Judge Steven Fisher on June 6, 2011 ordered the
Connecticut Humane Society to reinstate former employees Maureen Lord
and Bridget Karchere.

Lord and Karchere were fired, Connecticut Humane Society
counsel acknowledged in court filings, for their roles in organizing
a December 2009 vote among Connecticut Humane staff as to whether
they would like to unionize as a chapter of the International
Association of Machinists. Eighteen of the 33 eligible voters
favored unionization, but then-Connecticut Humane Society president
Richard Johnston contended that Lord and Karchere should have been
excluded from participation because they were part of management.
Fisher in an 87-page verdict rejected the argument that Lord
and Karchere were management.
“The Connecticut Humane Socierty is now ordered by the
National Labor Relations Board to re-instate Karchere and Lord, pay
back wages for the time out, and expunge any discipline regarding
this incident from their permanent records,” said International
Association of Machinists representative Everett Corey. “The
employer must also post a notice to employees that the organization
will cease and desist from coercively interrogating employees about
organizing, creating the impression that workers’ organizing
activities were under surveillance, threatening employees with job
loss or discipline, and actually terminating workers for
organizing,” Corey said.
Recalled the Hartford Courant, “The dismissals of Maureen
Lord and Bridget Karchere ignited a tumultuous period for the
130-year-old Connecticut Humane Society. A group of former employees
and animal advocates called the Coalition for Change, raised
questions about animal care and the society’s management. The group
also lobbied for the ouster of Richard Johnston,” who resigned in
March 2010 after 20 years in office.

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