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In Memoriam: John D. Quadros, Former National Weather Service Employees Organization President

(July 5, 2022): John Quadros, the second President of the National Weather Service Employees Organization and Lead Forecaster at the Redwood City Forecast Office, died in Fremont, California on June 29. He is survived by his wife Kathy.

Quadros guided NWSEO through troubled times for the agency and the union during the Reagan Administration. He assumed the union’s presidency when its first president was removed by the National Council for malfeasance at the union’s convention in Quincy, Massachusetts. He then fought off aggressive efforts from the Administration to substantially reduce funding for the NWS, to eliminate the NWS’s fire weather program, to close several NWS regional headquarters, and to privatize the NWS as well as the NOAA’s weather satellites. He testified before multiple Congressional committees during those years. In 1988, he was successful in blocking a 20-day furlough of NWS employees through Congressional lobbying.

John also negotiated the union’s first national collective bargaining agreement, which established the basic protections of advanced, fixed work scheduling NWS employees enjoy today. Under his leadership, the union successfully litigated a case in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Gahagan v. United States, which established the right of Federal employees on court or military leave to receive the same premium pay to which they would otherwise be entitled in the course of their regular rotation. He authorized a plethora of arbitration cases, including one that established the rule that verification scores cannot be used in performance evaluations.

Quadros made national news in August 1988 when he served as lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that obtained a permanent nationwide injunction against random drug testing of NWS forecasters. In Quadros et al v. Reagan, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that there was no evidence of drug abuse at the National Weather Service that warranted the invasion of privacy that drug testing entails. In an editorial, the USA Today declared its support for Quadros’s efforts to protect the Fourth Amendment, writing "we don’t have to shoot down individual rights to win the war on drugs." The Quadros case may be the only time in judicial history in which a Federal judge has personally enjoined the President of the United States, as opposed to subordinate officials.


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