FRONT ROYAL, Va.—The National Labor Relations Board in Baltimore announced Dec. 10 that it will hear a complaint filed by fomer employees of Human Life International, according to the two sides in the dispute.

The National Labor Relations Board did not return calls by press time.

John Cavanaugh-O'Keefe and two other former employees of Human Life International, brought their situation to the attention of the National Labor Relations Board after they were fired in January by the pro-life educational organization based in Northern Va.

Cavanaugh-O'Keefe claims that he lost his job for trying to unionize workers. “In December (of 1998) a group of 10 people met to talk about labor conditions. A memo of that meeting was given to Father Welch. Of the six mentioned on that memo, three were fired,” said Cavanaugh-O'Keefe.

“It is illegal to fire someone because they're trying to start a union,” Cavanaugh-O'Keefe told the Register.

Anne DeLong, a spokeswoman for Human Life International, said O'Keefe's allegations are “patently false.”

While she refused to discuss why the other two individuals were fired, DeLong denied that Cavanaugh-O'Keefe was fired for trying to start a union.

“Mr. O'Keefe was fired for insubordination because he presented a dead baby at a staff luncheon after being directed not to do that,” DeLong said to the Register.

DeLong said that CavanaughO'Keefe was trying to change the mission of Human Life International “from an educational organization to an activist organization.”

The complaint will be heard by the National Labor Relations Board in Baltimore in February, said DeLong.