Nightmare ends with reinstatement

Nightmare ends with reinstatement, $11,000 cash settlement

WSE Jan 2018

His shop steward  ‘had my back’ -- now Andrew Simbler is back on the job

PHOTO:  Andrew Simbler (right) with WFSE/AFSCME Council Representative Addley Tole.

Andrew Simbler is back on the job in Spokane thanks to his shop steward, union council representative and the backing of the other members of Local 1221.

This after the Department of Social and Health Services told him that after 26 years, he could no longer do the work. On July 28, DSHS gave him a disability separation. 

He was out of a job.

“I thought that was wrongful what they did...,” Simbler said.  “I was just having to sit at home and that was the hardest part of it.”

Without a union, Simbler’s story might have ended there. 

But it didn’t.

Thanks to AFSCME Council 28 (WFSE)'s strong General Government contract and the backing of his co-members, the union filed grievances that led to a negotiated settlement.

On Nov. 16 he was back on the job with $11,370.65 in back pay for the time he was unfairly off the job.

“I was shocked that I actually got the back pay,” a jubilant Simbler said recently.

Simbler, who served his agency and taxpayers for 26 years, had lived the nightmare most of us can only imagine. 

He had been a procurement and supply support specialist. But last year, the agency said he no longer could perform the essential functions of the job. Simbler and the union said the job duty in question – doing oil changes, checking tires and other maintenance of state vehicles – was not actually in the essential functions. 

He did have a temporary medical condition, explained WFSE Council Rep. Addley Tole. But after a period of reasonable accommodation, the disability separation came.

But so did standing up for his rights under the union contract. "They really had my back, I was really thankful,” he said.

He gives special credit to Addley Tole, his council rep., and his Local 1221 Shop Steward, Chris Bagby.

“Chris was the very first one who started the whole issue,” Simbler said of Bagby. 

“She got Addley involved and she even encouraged me and told me, ‘Oh, you’ll be back.’

“She told me they didn’t have a leg to stand on to begin with.”

Under the settlement, Simbler won reinstatement as a secretary senior in the DSHS Children’s Administration at the same rate of pay as his old position.

“I’d just like to thank the union for what they’ve done because whenever I need the union, the union’s always been there to back me,” Simbler said.