An administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board has found that Chuck Parker, the national executive director of the Art Directors Guild, “unlawfully” fired longtime ADG accountant Nicole Oeuvray “in retaliation” for her efforts in leading the push to unionize the guild’s staff.
Deadline broke the news, pointing to a 38-page decision from Judge Gerald Etchingham that came down on Friday. The judge found that Oeuvray’s firing on May 15, 2020 was “discriminatorily motivated” even though Parker claimed it was the result of a bounced check, late financial reports, and a brusque attitude towards certain colleagues — specifically, members of the guild’s Illustrators & Matte Artists Council. Oeuvray was just three months short of vesting in the Motion Picture Industry Health Plan.
A spokesperson for the Art Directors Guild told Below the Line in a statement that “this is an ongoing matter and will be appealed.”
Oeuvray had been the ADG’s head accountant for 16 years and helped lead a 2019 campaign to unionize the guild’s staff under the auspices of Local 537 of the Office of Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU). At one point during that unionizing effort, Parker was overheard loudly saying “Fuck OPEIU” in front of bargaining unit employees and management. The subsequent election was described as “acrimonious” by Deadline, and because Judge Etchingham found Ouevray to have a “key role as [a] union organizer,” that opened the door to the retaliation claim.
Lydia Prescott, the ADG’s Director of Member Services, testified that she heard Parker utter the same phrase, describing it as a “profane outburst” that “surprised” her. Parker has not denied the claim and has described the small office as a “fishbowl” in his past testimony, though the judge deemed Prescott “a very credible witness” and was left unsatisfied by Parker’s attempt to explain the comment.
“Parker’s offensive and profane outburst in September 2019 yelling, ‘fuck OPEIU’ in the presence of Oeuvray, Prescott, and other employees indicates that Parker was opposed to the Union representing Respondent’s employees and harbored anti-union sentiments,” the judge wrote in his ruling.
Based out of Studio City, the Art Directors Guild is 3,500 members strong and one of only three IATSE locals with national jurisdiction.