NEW LONDON, Conn.- In lieu of prosecution, The United States Coast Guard has settled with AFGE Local 219 over a charge filed with the Federal Labor Relations Authority over the sharing of information that violated the rights and safety of a U.S. Coast Guard Academy employee and AFGE member.
The U.S. Coast Guard employee filed a grievance against management, including complaints of workplace harassment by an employee. These grievances are not to be released in accordance to workers’ rights under the law to protect their safety. Despite this, the grievance was shared with two employees, one of which allegedly retaliated against the grievant.
The U.S. Coast Guard refused to work with AFGE at every turn, even denying any disclosure of the distribution of sensitive information after an admission by one of the employees it was disclosed to. They also denied efforts by AFGE to de-escalate the situation, continuing to put the grievant in danger and making a mockery of the right to confidentially file a grievance. Even after evidence of the information being disclosed and printed online, the U.S. Coast Guard refused to accept responsibility.
The recently agreed-to settlement requires the U.S. Coast Guard to distribute digitally and post in the workplace a notice explaining to employees that they will not interfere with workers’ protected rights, including the dissemination of protected information. While the original situation never should have happened in the first place, and wouldn’t have if the U.S. Coast Guard had properly observed rules meant to protect workers when filing grievances, it’s a step in the right direction to prevent more needless harm to workers at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in the future.
"I am happy to hear the Coast Guard is taking action to ensure our members are comfortable formally reporting workplace problems." said AFGE Local 219 President Mark Panzera. "We expect our concerns to be handled properly and this settlement is a clear display that the Coast Guard takes it seriously."