DC Judges Find Justice in Joining Union

Friday, August 1, 2014

DC Judges Find Justice in Joining Union(Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO)

After a two-year battle, DC judges finally got justice Thursday when they voted overwhelmingly to join the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE). “This has been a long time in coming,” said administrative law judge Jesse Goode. “Sometimes the wheels of justice turn slowly even for judges, but today democracy prevailed and the union was voted in.” The vote marked an end to a more than two-year battle by administrative law judges employed by DC’s Office of Administrative Hearings who were denied their rights to form a union by former Chief Administrative Law Judge Mary Oates Walker. She hired a union-busting law firm, without approval of the city council or the mayor, and went after judges who blew the whistle on her unethical behavior, which included charges of wrongdoing connected to contract steering, conflicts of interest, retaliation against subordinates and lying to investigators. In May, she was fired by Mayor Gray after a report by the city’s Board of Ethics and Government Accountability (BEGA) charged Walker with 19 counts of wrongdoing. “Professionals who form a union not only gain a greater voice in the policies that impact their work and profession, but it also allows them to hold their employer accountable, as in the case with these judges,” said Paul Shearon, IFPTE’s Secretary-Treasurer. “We will now work with the judges to collectively bargain an agreement with District managers that will reflect their collective wisdom on how OAH can be improved.”

photo (l-r): Judge Scott Harvey, Teresa Idris (IFPTE General Counsel), Judge Arabella Teal, Paul Shearon (IFPTE Secretary-Treasurer), Judge Jesse Goode, Greg Junemann (IFPTE President), and Judge Elizabeth Figueroa. photo by Chris Langford


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