March 25, 2019
NLRB Accuses Triangle for Trying to Thwart Union Action

March 11, 2018 — The National Labor Relations Board has issued a complaint against Triangle, Inc., a Malden-based nonprofit serving people with disabilities, alleging that the organization attempted to unlawfully prevent employees from organizing a union.

The accusation against Coleman Nee, chief executive officer of Triangle Inc., and five other organization officials was based on complaints "from four former employees, who charged they were fired for helping organize the roughly 175-member work force to unionize with SEIU Local 509," according to a report in The Boston Globe.

The Triangle leaders spent months “interfering with, restraining and coercing employees,” including repeatedly interrogating them about the union activities of others, according to a copy of the NLRB’s Feb. 28 complaint," The Globe reported.

Joseph DiVincenzo, one of the former employees, said the push to form a union was sparked by "the need to provide a safe and fair work environment," according to a report in The Boston Herald.

According to The Herald, "court documents filed by SEIU Local 509, Banelis, DiVincenzo and Kane said that Nee told employees last June that if they supported the union, 'they would be fired'."

Nee has reportedly denied the allegations.

Triangle officials reportedly have until Wednesday to file an answer to the complaint filed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). A hearing has been scheduled for June.

According to the NLRB, Nee last June allegedly , “told employees that if they told others that they supported the union, they could be fired,” The Globe reported.

Triangle, according to The Globe, released a statement saying it would prefer to “amicably resolve the dispute” and that the employees were laid off to reduce expenses as part of a response to a budget deficit.

“Triangle is not anti-union,” the statement reportedly read, “and Triangle would prefer to devote its limited financial resources to providing services to disabled individuals.”

Only about 6.5% of nearly 20,000 unfair labor allegations filled with the NLRB in fiscal 2017 resulted in formal complaints, according to The Globe.

In fiscal 2017, Triangle reported nearly $10.25 million in revenue and $10.16 million in expenses, according to its most recently available annual report.

Established in 1971, Triangle provided on-site employment opportunities for people with disabilities from Medford, Malden, and Everett in its early years, and has expanded since 2001 to provide youth and adults with the career, leadership, and safety skills. Today, it serves 3,900 people in 87 communities, partners with 99 employers, and operates 10 residential homes.

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