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Anniversary Thoughts On Fifth Anniversary Of My Firing By Illinois AFSCME Officials
Source Sue Smith
Date 08/08/21/11:35

AUGUST 26, 2008 WILL mark the 5th anniversary of the day I was fired by AFSCME Council 31, shortly after I returned from my second brain surgery. Bob Sarver, my supervisor, was very friendly and inquisitive about my health. The next week, he began harassing me. Eleven days after I returned to work, I was fired.

The district court found that I failed on the third element of the prima facie case. Laura Gates' (who was fired by Mr. Sarver after she suffered a stroke) statement was not considered because it wasn't notarized and "the mere sequence of events…does not indicated a suspicious circumstance".

On appeal, the appellate court issued a nonprecedential disposition. It said "we will proceed under the assumption that Smith has proven her prima facie case, and turn to the question of whether she has provided sufficient evidence that Council 31's proffered reason for her termination was pretextual". It then states, "evidence regarding Sarver's intent is irrelevant…" because the order to terminate came from Henry Bayer and not Bob Sarver.

Evidence considered irrelevant was: Bob Sarver stated Mr. Bayer "agreed that we had a problem by reason of what I had described to him". The five work 'problems' Bob Sarver cites were fictional. Mr. Sarver scrutinized medical claims of employees. Mr. Sarver wrote detailed notes stating he wanted to terminate me. A representative from the bank we dealt with called me the morning I was terminated and asked what was going on. She recounted how Bob Sarver had called the bank president the preceding Friday and had her taken off all our accounts "solely" because she was my friend.

From an article by Roberta Lynch in August 11, 2004, "In the past year alone, more than 700 state workers were certified to become members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31." I find it interesting that membership has decreased so dramatically during the last 5 years, and yet receipts have almost proportionately increased.

I now work for a different Union and membership has grown steadily during the last five years. I can't help but believe the treatment I received and declining membership numbers are all related to the leadership at AFSCME Council 31. AFSCME members have just re-elected Henry Bayer to the position of International Vice President by acclimation. Life goes on.

God Bless,
Sue Smith
#8 Toler Bend
Box 106
Franklin, IL 62638
(217) 370-6652

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