Tuesday, November 02, 2021
Sean Penn Non-Profit Faces Trial Before National Labor Relations Board Adminisrativer Law Judge
Worker rights to engage in protcted concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act must be protected and not neglected. They were neglected under Trump and are being protected under Biden. No employer is above the law, including non-profits. The late David Brian Wallace and I both brought NLRB actions against our employers in Washington, D.C. and we both won. The organizations in quo were the American Association for the Advancement of Science (SCIENCE Magazine) and the Government Accountability Project, Inc.
Brian and I both admired Sean Penn as an actor and a liberal, and I still do.
But Sean Penn's impassioned e-mail broke the law, it would appear, and an Administrative Law Judge of the National Labor Relations Board will hold a hearing in January. Like me, Sean Penn is then scion of progressive parents, and I know he will learn from this.
Footnote: I found it was helpful and fruitful having Brian, or my mentor, the late U.S. Department of Labor Chief Administrative Law Judge Nahum Litt, or another good friend or colleague, to read my passionate writing before hitting the "send" button on the fax machine or putting it in the mail. To Sean Penn: I would be happy to review drafts in future.
From The New York Times:
“Despite its utter lack of legal merit, the N.L.R.B.’s General Counsel and Regional Director have decided to waste federal resources and taxpayer dollars by filing an ill‐advised and meritless lawsuit, even as CORE continues its groundbreaking work,” a statement from the lawyer, Mathew S. Rosengart, said. “The N.L.R.B.’s actions to distract CORE from its crucial mission for a case where no employees were harmed, are shameful.”
By many measures, CORE’s pandemic work has been a success. The group, which Penn co-founded after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, has provided free coronavirus testing in California and beyond. At Dodger stadium, CORE assisted the Los Angeles Fire Department, which led an operation that administered nearly 56,000 vaccinations in its first nine days.
The description of the parking-lot scene in The Times article in late January included: “There is Krispy Kreme for breakfast and Subway for lunch (the fruit on the tables is for poking with syringes during training sessions). At the trailers marked ‘Vaccine Draw,’ runners elbow past Mr. Penn, slide their empty coolers inside and await a fresh batch of syringes.”
Among 150 comments in response to the story were the two that purported to come from CORE workers. One, attributed to “CORE staff,” referred to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, writing: “We have staff working 18 hour days, 6 days a week,” adding: “This is an OSHA violation.”
A second commenter, “staff #2,” wrote: “We do NOT get krispy kreme for breakfast. In fact, we usually DON’T get breakfast, just coffee. And the lunch is NOT subway. It’s the same old lettuce wraps every day. It’s free lunch for staff/volunteers so I’m not complaining but still … not subway.”
The day after the article ran, Penn’s message addressed to “All CORE Staff” went out, citing “a pair of highly visible comments on a major news outlet’s platform.” He began by commending CORE workers and wrote that he is consumed with the fight against Covid: “I awaken pre-dawn and pass out post-midnight every morning and every night, pulling at my hair and pounding pavement.”
Penn wrote that CORE has strong complaint procedures and complies with OSHA regulations, but also warned against “obscene critiques” and stated that “valuable, organized response is most vulnerable to destruction from within.”