Member gets job back & rebuilds his life
9:33 AM - April 2, 2014
Local 1000 helps a falsely accused employee return to work
Caltrans toll collector Johnnie Burton cannot get back the year of his life that passed while he was falsely imprisoned. But after Local 1000 persuaded an administrative judge to decide in Burton’s favor, he is back at work today.
Burton lost his job after being arrested in Sept. 2012 for a felony that a jury later found he didn’t commit. In jail, without a way to contact his employer, he was terminated for being AWOL. Unable to make $750,000 bail, he waited 14 months in jail for his trial–where he was exonerated of all charges.
After his release, Local 1000 attorney Linda Shipley took his case to hearing where Administrative Law Judge Karla Broussard-Boyd ordered the state to rehire Burton because he had no opportunity to call in sick, explain his absence or appeal his termination while incarcerated.
“SEIU Local 1000 went out and fought for me when no one else would,” said Burton, who is scheduled to work his first day back on April 2 at the Benicia-Martinez Bridge. “My union believed in me and because of that I now have my job back.”
A false accusation and lengthy jail stay caused Burton to be evicted from his apartment, his car to be repossessed, and his credit ruined. A single father with a 10 year-old boy, returning to work is an important step in rebuilding his life.
“My Local 1000 attorney was like a blessing from the sky for me. The union was ready to listen to my story, to review the facts and to help me put my life back together.”