Only "at-will" employees can be terminated without cause. If your friend is a union member, there are restrictions on how an employer may terminate an employee, which are spelled out in the union contract. Your friend needs to speak with his union representative immediately.
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You should immediately contact your union steward (representative).
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If this whole incident has been "cooked up" as a pretext for discrimination or retaliation (for whistleblowing, for example), your friend MAY be able to file a lawsuit in court or go through union grievance-arbitration procedures.
Talking to an experienced labor and employment lawyer, as well as the union steward, may be warranted in this situation. A 25-year job is at stake and your friend should educate himself on all the angles.
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If the union cannot assist you, it is unlikely you can sue the employer for wrongful termination because it is allowed to terminate you for any reason or no reason, and even an erroneous reason. You might have some rights against the individuals involved if you can prove this was all a big lie, but then you need to decide if suing another person who may not have many assets makes any sense.
Good luck to you.
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