Four former employees of the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in Fairview Heights won back pay and their jobs back in arbitration more than a year ago, but still have not been paid.
As a result, a spokesman for the employees said they are considering taking the VFW to court.
Post Commander Pam Shelton declined to comment, other than to say the case could be going back to arbitration.
VFW Post 8677 at 5325 N. Illinois St. laid off the four women from their jobs as bartenders in October 2013 in what the organization called a cost-cutting move. The four appealed and won their arbitration hearing in April 2014. Each was awarded back pay, including holiday and sick pay. The agreement called for the VFW to make payments over 18 months.
Each were also offered their jobs back, but only one accepted and soon quit the job.
Initially, the four were being paid during the first couple of months. Les Halveland, of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 74 in St. Louis, said the VFW then ceased payments and still owe the former employees money.
Halveland said he has been trying to contact Shelton but has not received any response. He said the union may have to resort to legal action.
“I have been trying to email her for a couple months,” Halveland said. “I have got nothing from her. She would not respond to me or to my email.”
I’ve heard this song and dance before,” he said. “They don’t seem to understand that they owe these ladies this money.
Les Halveland, union spokesman
Told that Shelton said the post may try to take the case back to an arbitrator, Halveland said, “I’ve heard this song and dance before. They don’t seem to understand that they owe these ladies this money.”
Bartender Ruby Veath said she did not accept her job back because she did not want to experience any potential retribution. The 55-year-old O’Fallon resident said she had worked there for 22 years when she was laid off. She said the VFW owes her about $1,500 to $2,000.
She suspects the VFW did not want union workers working at the hall and that’s why they were laid off.
Ruth Ann Shellito said she is owed more than $5,000. The 68-year-old Collinsville resident worked at the VFW hall for 22 years as a bartender and an assistant manager. She said the VFW no longer wanted to pay for insurance, but she said she and her co-workers were willing to work without benefits.
“We would have if they would have discussed that with us,” Shellito said. “We were willing to pay for our own insurance rather than being cut off completely, but they didn’t come to us. They cut us off rather than trying to work it out.”
Kim Lampe, 53, worked as a bartender at the VFW hall and said she is owed more than $2,400.
“They quit paying us back in April,” Lampe said. “They fired us, wrongfully.”