Teamster Perseverance


When Bree Wilson left active duty in the military, she went back home to York, Pa. not knowing what she wanted to do with her life. After taking a nonunion factory job and deciding it wasn’t going anywhere, she went to the police academy and paid for it out of her own pocket.

The West York Borough Police Department hired her in 2008. It didn’t take long for her to love the job.

“I quickly realized this was my niche. This is what connects me to the community,” she said.

On Jan. 26, 2011, Wilson was placed on administrative leave for alleged misconduct pending an investigation. On March 4, 2011, Wilson was officially charged and placed on suspension without pay, so she filed a grievance through her union, Local 776 in Harrisburg.

Charges against Wilson were dismissed two years later, but instead of being reinstated, the borough terminated her employment.

This grievance remained in limbo until Local 776 Business Agent William Olmeda actively pursued the case.

Wilson said that within a few hours of Local 776’s leadership being sworn in after winning the union election, Olmeda got in touch with Wilson and said he would be vigorously pursuing justice for her.

“We will always be there fighting for the rights of our members. Always. Period. We’ll never back down from doing right by our membership,” Olmeda said. “This was the right thing to do, so we did it.”

In April 2015, it went to arbitration for a determination on a wrongful discharge. The case was heard and a decision was rendered on December 9, 2015.

The arbitration award stated that Officer Wilson was to be reinstated as a police officer and made whole for all lost wages and benefits, which will be in excess of $220,000.

“With Officer Wilson, it was all about principles,” Olmeda said. “She hung in with the union and the union hung in with her.”

“It started out about me, but somewhere along the line, maybe two years into this fight, I realized I was looking at the bigger picture,” Wilson said. “I knew I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t want to take any deals and just let the chips fall where they may.

“I’ve got to give big kudos to the Teamsters,” she said. “Workers in law enforcement definitely need to be united and stand together as one with a labor union. If I wasn’t in a union, I would not be back at work today.”