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A supporter for the long haul

Labor and employment attorney Wesley Fastiff, A54, A90P, describes his first big case as something out of a John Grisham thriller.

Face to face with Hoffa

On his first day with a small law firm in San Francisco in 1963, a new client came in with a problem no one else had been able to solve. At the center of the case was a national contract between a group of trucking companies and the Teamsters union. Eventually the case would bring Fastiff face to face with Jimmy Hoffa, the notorious union leader with reputed ties to organized crime.

Fastiff found an illegal clause in the contract that everyone else up until that point had overlooked. He won the case and the trucking industry asked him to negotiate a new national contract. Looking back now, Fastiff laughs at himself. “The only relevant experience I had at the time was negotiating my $9,000 annual salary, so I said of course.” Justified or not, he brought his confidence to the negotiating table with Hoffa and got everything the trucking companies wanted.

From two to 1,200

This early success launched Fastiff’s career, and his truck collection. Grateful trucking companies sent him toy-sized models with their names printed on the sides to show their appreciation. Over the years, hundreds of clients have added to his model truck collection, which he displays in his office. “Other attorneys display diplomas on their walls, I have trucks,” he says. Meanwhile, Littler Mendelson, the two-person firm he joined 50 years ago, grew and now employs more than 1,200 lawyers around the globe. In 2012 and 2013, it was named Law Firm of the Year in Labor Law and Management by U.S. News and Best Lawyers. Fastiff presently serves as chairman emeritus of the board.

Fastiff is one of three Tufts alumni in his family. He met his wife, Bonnie, BOUVE60, A90P, in San Francisco, where the couple married and raised two children. Their son, Eric, A90, followed in his father’s footsteps and practices law in San Francisco. Their daughter, Pamela, is an attorney in Connecticut.

Long haul support

Fastiff understands the importance of financial aid on a personal level. He attended Tufts on an ROTC scholarship, then served as a naval officer for two years before going to law school. Wesley and Bonnie created the Fastiff Scholarship Fund with a $1 million gift and have contributed to it regularly over the years. In early June, the couple committed an additional $100,000 in honor of Wesley’s 60th reunion. Their gift will be matched by the Tufts Financial Aid Initiative, doubling its impact.

“Tufts gave me the background and desire to excel in whatever I do,” he says. “We want other students to have that opportunity, regardless of their financial ability.”