The initial question raises another question of whether Mantell
engaged in any activity protected by Section 7. Mantell's
Facebook posts concerned perceived unfairness affecting
apprentices. Mantell was a journeyman, however, not an
Mantell, who was a member of the Union Local 91, posted comments
on a Facebook page that criticized the Union for allowing a Niagara
Falls city councilman, running for mayor, to obtain a
journeyman's book. The Facebook page was accessible to about
4,000 people, some of whom were members of Local 91.
Local 91's Business Manager, Richard Palladino, filed
internal charges against Mantell. The Union's executive board
conducted a trial on the charges focused on the Facebook posts. The
executive board found Mantell guilty of the charges and made a
decision to fine Martell $5,000 and suspend his membership for 24
months. This decision was ratified at a monthly Union membership
meeting. The Union removed Mantell from the hiring hall's
out-of-work list the next day. Mantell then appealed the decision
to the International Union. The International subsequently informed
Local 91 that it needed to dismiss the charges against Mantell.
The NLRB Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) noted that the National Labor Relations Act Section 7 provides
that, "employees shall have the right to self-organization, to
form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively
through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in
other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining
or other mutual aid or protection."
The ALJ found that Mantell's Facebook posts were protected
under the Act. The decision noted that "issuing a
journeyman's book to someone allegedly ineligible to receive
one, affected Mantell in that one more journeyman would arguably
impact his opportunities for employment." As seen in NLRB
v. Peter Cailler Kohler Swiss Chocolate Co., 130 F.2d 503,
505-506 (2d Cir. 1942), employees raising concerns about a common
cause with fellow employees are, in fact, engaged in protected
activity. "Even though the immediate quarrel may not concern
them they may be assured that if their 'turn ever comes,'
they will have the support of those they are then
The ALJ also rejected the Union's assertion that Mantell
forfeited his protection of the Act by maliciously defaming the
Union and the Business Manager. The Union complained that one of
Mantell's comment, in which he suggested that gifts were being
given the person running for mayor, was untrue. However, the ALJ
concluded that nothing Mantell said in his Facebook posts was
maliciously and knowingly untrue, citingMasTec
Advance Technologies, 357 NLRB 103, 107 (2011), and allowing
the protection of the Act to remain intact.
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