|We've got NEWS|
|Wednesday, February 16, 2000 |
Tommy G. Thompson
News Media Contact
MADISON-The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today announced the state is investigating complaints concerning the closing of Charter Behavioral Health System of Wisconsin in West Allis for not providing appropriate notice to the state, mayor of West Allis, and affected employees.
DWD Secretary Linda Stewart said, "The Division of Equal Rights will conduct a thorough investigation into the possible violation of the plant closing notification and wage claim law and will take the appropriate steps to protect the employees rights."
Wisconsins plant closing law states that anytime a business of 50 or more employees closes, or implements a mass layoff, it is required to provide 60 days advance written notification to employees, the employees union representative and the highest ranking municipality in which the business resides.
If a business does not follow the state law, it can be required to pay employees their regular wages and benefits they would have earned during the 60-day recovery period. Businesses that violate the law can also be fined $500 per day of the 60 days that the head of the municipality is not notified.
The Equal Rights division is also investigating possible wage claim violations concerning potential earned vacation owed to the employees.
In addition, the Governors Office and the Department of Workforce Development are waiting to hear whether $500,000 in emergency federal assistance will be made available to help more than 1,400 workers in Milwaukee County who are losing their jobs through layoffs.
The DWD made the emergency request in a letter submitted to the US Department of Labor Tuesday. The federal funds would help laid-off workers find new jobs through Milwaukees HIRE Center, an agency comprised of labor, business, profit agencies and government that provides job training and placement services. Official notification from federal officials is expected in the next two days.
The letter said, "Because of the volume of workers being laid-off, lack of notice and the severe financial stress on state and local resources, we believe it is necessary to request $500,000 in emergency funding to initiate services to the US Leather and other workers in the Milwaukee area."
State officials have also been working with representatives of the Milwaukee and Waukesha-Ozaukee-Washington (WOW) Workforce Development Areas to submit an application for funding that would cover four other large dislocation events in the Milwaukee area.