Local

May 13, 2014 9:36 PM by Lauren Reimer

Employees at a local rail company return to work after a year of being off the job

Talks between Greenbrier Rail Services employees and the Sheet Metal Workers Local 359 picked back up again Tuesday, after they say those same discussions got workers laid off more than a year ago.

Back in the fall of 2012 more than 50 Greenbrier employees, including locomotive operator Hector Federico, wanted to unionize.

"Better insurance, better wages. I thought since the length of time that I been working there I thought I felt that I would like to see that too because I plan to be working here for a long time," says Federico.

But just two weeks later, Federico and many of his coworkers were out of a job.

A Greenbriar spokesperson says the layoffs were made because there was just not enough work for employees, and the facility had been loosing the company money.

"No, it's not a coincidence. No I don't think so," says Federico.

Workers were offered severance pay, and relocation to other Greenbrier facilities around the country after the layoff.

Last month, more than a year later, Greenbrier was court ordered to rehire 29 of those workers.

"We were able to obtain enough evidence where obviously Judge Zapata felt the same way," says Greg Suydam, Local Union 359 Marketing Representative.

The company has offered relocation funds to move employees back to Tucson. So far 10 have returned to work, including Federico.

"I was ecstatic. I still am. I am excited to go to work," he says.

Greenbrier says it is following the order of the court, and has filed an appeal.

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