Thursday, July 3, 2014

Wrongly fired Teamster gets his job back (or, Why we need unions)

Teamster Tom Quarles got his job back and $73,000 in back pay after Republic Services fired him for something that wasn't his fault.
Teamster Tom Quarles

Without a union, Tom Quarles wouldn't have returned to work. Teamsters Local 763 in Tukwila, Wash., fought for his reinstatement and back pay.

“I want to thank Local 763 for all they did for me and I am happy to be back at work after 16 months,” Quarles told Teamster Magazine. “I am proud to do my job and I am proud to be a Teamster.”

Brother Quarles had worked in a department for Republic Services that didn't require him to work Saturdays. He moved to a new department that did require occasional work on Saturdays, but the company never told him. So when he didn't show up on a Saturday in early January 2013, he was fired.

Scott Sullivan, Local 763 secretary-treasurer, said the evidence was very clear that Republic Services never told him he was supposed to work on the Saturday in question.

Local 763 won the initial arbitration case and defeated the company's appeal. Tom Quarles returned to work on April 22, 2014 with more than $41,500 in back wages, more than $31,500 in health, welfare and pension benefits, 240 hours of vacation and 75 hours of paid sick time.

“This case illustrates why we need unions,” said Jason Powell, the Local 763 business agent who represents waste workers. "The union was there to fight for his rights with the contract backing us up."

To read more stories in Teamster Magazine online, click here.