Thank you for your question and I look forward to assisting you. That being said...
I am so sorry this has happened to you and it does certainly seem from your facts that you have been screwed.
First, with regard to your appeal (which is taking a very long time, so make sure to follow up with that and make sure you are not lost in the system), bring in a witness at the hearing (and perhaps an affidavit from him/her prior thereto to be submitted in advance) who heard them suspend you and/or fire you. Ideally, they will have heard the statement about being fired for 'badmouthing' the Union. While being distruptive etc. could be cause for firing - simply and without abuse, criticizing your Union is a matter of free speech in this country and perhaps you can make them squirm with a civil rights action.
With regard to failure to pay wages, please contact the federal Department of Labor - they can be in some hot water if they are guilty of withholding moneys due you. You have nothing to lose by making a stink, in my opinion.
Finally, with regard to your lawyer, if he took you retainer and did nothing, you need to write him, cert. rrr and advice that you seek return of your $5k as he did not fulfill his obligations under the Fee Agreement (be sure to read the fee agreement). Demand he return it in 5 business days or else you will have no choice but to seek legal remedies. After 5 days, file a complaint here, with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission. His actions are dispicable - you can also file suit against him, in small claims.
Lastly, please know that even though your UI claim is still pending in the appeals stage, you are free to seek other work, and being broke, I would so so right away. If trucking jobs are scant, look for something else to hold you over until you find the job you are looking for.
Hope this helps to clarify. Let me know if it needs additional clarification!
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