15:0488(105)CO - Overseas Education Association and Joseph Cardone -- 1984 FLRAdec CO



[ v15 p488 ]
15:0488(105)CO
The decision of the Authority follows:


 15 FLRA No. 105
 
 OVERSEAS EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
 Respondent
 
 and
 
 JOSEPH CARDONE
 Charging Party
 
                                            Case No. 3-CO-93
 
                            DECISION AND ORDER
 
    This matter is before the Authority pursuant to the Regional
 Director's "Order Transferring Case to the Federal Labor Relations
 Authority" in accordance with section 2429.1(a) of the Authority's Rules
 and Regulations.
 
    Upon consideration of the entire record in this case, including the
 stipulation of facts, accompanying exhibits, and the contentions of the
 parties, the Authority finds:
 
    The complaint alleged that the Respondent, Overseas Education
 Association (OEA or the Union) violated section 7116(b)(1) of the
 Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) /1/ by
 publishing and distributing an article in its publication, The
 Washington Journal, disparaging and ridiculing unit employee Joseph
 Cardone, the Charging Party, and calling for revenge or reprisal against
 him because he had filed an earlier unfair labor practice charge against
 the Union under the Statute.  In March 1981, Joseph Cardone filed a
 charge with the Authority against the Respondent.  /2/ In April 1981,
 the Union distributed an edition of its Washington Journal, on page 12
 of which appeared an article concerning two new unfair labor practice
 charges that had been filed against the OEA.  /3/ The article stated
 that, "(i)n an attempt to protect the charging parties from the wrath of
 our membership, the actual names will not be used." The charge filed by
 Cardone was quoted verbatim in the article, as set forth below, except
 that "Ima Turkey" was substituted for the Charging Party's real name:
 
          On or about October 1979 and again on or about January 1981 OEA
       officials did interfere with and restrain Ima Turkey, a unit
       employee assigned as a teacher to the Aschaffenburg ES/JHS in the
       exercise of his rights under the Act by attempting to penalize him
       for having engaged in protected activities by filing a law suit
       against him.  Again in December 1980 the OEA faculty
       representatives at Aschaffenburg ES/JHS protested Ima Turkey's
       reading of an OEA Journal, stating vociferously before other unit
       employees that because he was a non-member, he had no right to
       read the OEA Journal, an external publication of the OEA, and that
       he had stolen it from another teacher's mailbox.  Again in
       December 1980 as a result of the above incident OEA officials
       reported Ima Turkey to the CID (Criminal Investigation Division)
       of the U.S. Army for prosecution.  The actions of the OEA were
       motivated by an attempt to punish and penalize Mr. Turkey for
       complaining about a lack of union representation and then filing
       an unfair labor practice charge.
 
    The article then concluded with the following statement concerning
 the above charge filed by Cardone:
 
          This obviously is a hot one which cries for vengeance.  If
       anyone in the area of Aschaffenburg could supply the librarian,
       Mr. Turkey, with a copy of the Washington Journal, we would be
       most appreciative.  It is OEA policy to share our Journal with
       both believers and nonbelievers and to accuse a librarian of
       stealing a book or magazine is a dastardly accusation.
 
    The General Counsel argues that the remarks contained in the
 publication, which referred to Cardone as "Ima Turkey";  which gave
 sufficient information so as to reveal Cardone's identity;  which
 suggested that Cardone would incur the wrath of the Union membership;
 and which referred to his unfair labor practice charge as "a hot one
 which cries for vengeance," exceeded the bounds of legally permissible
 conduct.  More specifically, the General Counsel argues that such
 remarks would reasonably intimidate and discourage Cardone and other
 employees from exercising their statutory right to file charges against
 the Union.  The Respondent Union, on the other hand, argues that the
 remarks did not intimidate or coerce Cardone in the exercise of his
 protected rights but, rather, constituted a valid communication to
 employees relating matters of Union concern.  By substituting "Ima
 Turkey" for Cardone's name, the Respondent further argues, it was
 attempting to protect Cardone and inject some humor into the situation.
 Moreover, the Respondent argues that its "cries for vengeance" comment
 was simply an expression of the Respondent's belief as to the merits of
 the charge.
 
    In the Authority's view, the remarks contained in the publication
 were violative of section 7116(b)(1) of the Statute inasmuch as they
 could reasonably tend to have a coercive effect on the exercise by unit
 employees of their protected rights under the Statute.  Thus, where a
 Union publication designed to communicate matters of concern to unit
 employees contains an article which not only describes an employee who
 had filed an unfair labor practice charge against the Union in a
 derogatory way, but also with sufficient particularity that his identity
 could clearly be ascertained;  suggests that the employee needs
 protection from the wrath of the Union membership for having filed such
 a charge;  and concludes that the filing of such charges "cries for
 vengeance," the Au