Local 1000 Steward Win Creates Solid Protection for All Union Stewards And Activists
You may soon see a recent Cease and Desist notice in your email or posted in your work sites about an Unfair Labor Practice committed by the State of California (CCHCS) against SEIU Local 1000 activist, Board of Director’s member, and DLC president Kevin Healy.
Because of this case, which applies statewide and across all public sector unions, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) now has the clear authority to ensure that any union activist that misses a promotion or career opportunity because of their union participation will be made whole and not be disadvantaged by anti-union discrimination.
This five-year fight went “final” at the end of October 2022 after the Court of Appeal unanimously let stand the PERB decision, which provides for a retroactive promotion, back pay, front pay, retirement contributions, and interest. The state was also ordered to pay Healy’s costs on appeal.
Healy, who was very active in his worksite in 2017 as a steward and union representative, also sought a state promotion. He was successful in an out-of-class (OOC) action, but had to represent a member who had been physically assaulted by the same “manager,” who was Healy’s out-of-class supervisor. Shortly thereafter, “manager” told Healy via email that he had to prioritize his OOC job over his union activities.
Healy was removed from the OOC job and was falsely told that someone else had been selected for the promotion. Rather than selecting Healy, CCHCS left the position vacant for several months and hired someone from a subsequent recruitment. Healy then filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge with PERB and prosecuted it against CCHCS.
Discovery and witnesses showed that CCHCS had come up with a secret “plan” to undermine Healy’s chances in the 2017 promotion interview. The Court of Appeal focused on “manager” for her misconduct, which discriminated against Healy for being a union activist.
The California Court of Appeal noted in September 2022 in its unanimous decision: “…the egregious nature of the conduct in this case … violated both the Dills Act and the merit principle. Hiring panel members expressed explicit bias against [Healy] because of his Union activities.”
As PERB noted in its decision: “Direct proof of [anti-union] motivation is rarely possible. Therefore, the Board will consider the record as a whole and may infer an employer’s motive from circumstantial evidence.” Furthermore, “[PERB agrees] with the Administrative Law Judge’s finding that animus nonetheless infected the decision not to move forward with Healy’s candidacy…”
“This case is one of the proudest moments in my career,” said Healy. “This is why I joined the union, became a steward, and tried to stand up for countless union members against dishonest bullies. I was up against the legal departments of CCHCS and CalHR, but the Adminstrative Law Judge, Board, and Appellate Justices saw the truth. This PERB case paves the path for other union activists, stewards and members, to have absolute confidence that anti-union discrimination will not be tolerated by PERB. Moving forward, union activists can get what they earn and deserve in the promotional system and be made whole. I hope that this invigorates others to step up in their union leadership, knowing that PERB will protect them in their career growth.”