AFSCME Local member Tom Barngrover, employed by Shawnee County Refuse in Topeka, Kansas, was terminated on October 28, 2008 after 27 years with the Department. The Employer alleged that Mr. Barngrover had acted in a non-professional manner and committed “acts detrimental to the County” while on his regular route. Immediately, Local 1294 Chief Steward Ralph McMasters became involved filed a grievance for unjust termination and disparate treatment.
On December 10, 2008 a grievance meeting was held In Topeka with Representatives of the Employer and Mr. Barngrover was represented by Council 72 Staff Representatives Eric Moore and Roger Levings and Local 1294 Stewards Ralph McMasters, Marco Adams and Howie Cummings. The Union’s position was that Mr. Barngrover had a good work record along with his 27 years of dedicated service to the County. Also, Mr. Barngrover was treated differently than other employees have been in the past in similar situations.
The Local grievance committee had decided that if Mr. Barngorvers’ grievance was denied there was no alternative but to take this case to arbitration. On January 2, 2009 the Union received a grievance settlement offer from the Employer that stated in part that Mr. Barngrover could return to work immediately if he agreed to waive his back pay and seniority. The Local held their ground and refused the offer and a counter offer was made in which Mr. Barngrover would serve a short suspension and otherwise be made whole. On January 15, 2009 the agreement was reached between the Employer and the Union and Brother Barngrover returned to work on January 20, 2009.
Brother Barngrover stated “I’m proud to be part of this Union and the representation I have received during this ordeal.” Staff Representative Eric Moore added “The quick response and investigation by Steward Ralph McMasters was the clincher in this process. I was also impressed with the way the membership rallied around Brother Barngrover, this is the type of solidarity that makes AFSCME a force to be reckoned with.”