AFSCME Local 328 and Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) have reached a settlement resolving an unfair labor practice charge the union filed over an outrageous social media trolling incident.
During contentious contract negotiations last year, two members of OHSU’s management bargaining team created fake social media profiles, two of them with obscene names, and posed as union members while posting things they thought would put the union on the defensive. Union social media volunteers sleuthed out the guilty parties: OHSU HR director Dan Forbes and financial analyst Patrick Frengle. Forbes resigned. Frengle was removed from the bargaining team but remains employed by OHSU.
But the rancor lived on in the form of a case that was investigated by the Oregon Employment Relations Board. Deceptive anti-union conduct like that violates the law’s requirement that public employers negotiate “in good faith.”
As part of a settlement to the charges signed Feb. 20, OHSU agreed to have outside attorney Cathryn Dammel investigate whether any other member of the management bargaining team took part in the deceptive trolling. She’ll interview 22 individuals in management and at least 11 union witnesses. In the settlement, OHSU also admits that the two managers engaged in social media trolling, and that it interfered with the rights of employees to engage in union activity. And OHSU will reimburse Local 328 the $900 legal filing fees and take other measures. Both sides will issue statements announcing that they’re now working together to create a collaborative relationship.