Springfield nonprofit settles federal anti-union complaint

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. –  A Springfield nonprofit has agreed to pay $36,200 to settle a federal labor complaint alleging that it fired four former employees for trying to join a union.

Sarah Barker of Havana is one of the workers who filed the complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against Sparc, which serves people with intellectual disabilities.

Barker tells The State Journal-Register she and her former co-workers were laid off last year after deciding to seek union representation from Service Employees International Union Local 73.

Sparc denied any anti-union activity and didn’t admit to any illegal or unethical activity under the settlement. Chief executive officer Greg O’Connor says Sparc agreed to the settlement on Sept. 9 to save on potential legal fees and time, calling the complaint “a distraction.”

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