WHEELING – A Tridelphia man is suing a labor union over allegations that they refused to re-employ him after he completed military service.

Elliot Ferrell filed a lawsuit April 19 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia against Laborers Local No. 1149, alleging violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994.

According to the complaint, in September 2013 Ferrell enrolled in the union’s apprenticeship program, which provided on-the-job training and employment through assignments with area companies. About a year later, the suit says Ferrell began a six-year enlistment in the U.S. Army National Guard that required several weeks off for basic training.

Although he claims the union agreed to suspend his dues while he was away, Ferrell said that upon his return they refused to rehire him and declined his efforts to pay his lapsed dues.

Ferrell seeks a jury trial and damages including lost wages and benefits, interest and litigation costs, as well as banning the union from violating his rights under USERRA. He is represented by attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia, Helen Campbell Altmeyer, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Vanita Gupta, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division, Delora Kennebrew, Andrew Braniff and Louis Whitsett, senior trial attorney for the U.S. Justice Department.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia Case number 5:16-cv-00055-FPS

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