|We've got NEWS|
|Friday, February 4, 2000 |
Tommy G. Thompson
News Media Contact
State assisting U.S. Leather employees
(MADISON) - The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development today sent a Rapid Response Team to Milwaukees Pfister & Vogel and A.L. Gebhardts leather operations to aid workers who found out they would be out of work today with only two days notice.
"We have staff from the Departments Workforce Excellence division and Unemployment Insurance division there to provide information on available unemployment assistance, training and retraining programs, and our Dislocated Worker program," said DWD Secretary Linda Stewart. "Our staff has been on-site since 7:00 this morning trying to help these people."
Secretary Stewart also said that more informational sessions have been arranged for next week Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for affected employees.
Plans are also being made to certify affected employees for the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program (TAA), a federal program that provides retraining and income support assistance to eligible workers who have been affected by foreign competition. Workers at the Gebhardt plant have already been certified for the program and DWD staff are working to get Pfister & Vogel workers certified today.
United States Leather told employees Wednesday that it would close its doors on Friday, leaving most of its 600 employees without jobs a possible violation of state and federal laws requiring businesses with more than 50 employees to give 60 days notice of a closing or mass layoff. I f the department of Workforce Development finds that the law was broken, the business would be required to pay affected employees the equivalent of what they would have paid them in wages and benefits had they given 60 days notice.
"We are very concerned about the welfare of these affected employees and their families," Secretary Stewart said. "We intend to investigate this matter thoroughly and make sure the rights of U.S. Leather employees are fully enforced."
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