A class-action lawsuit filed in Snyder County Court Friday morning on behalf of former Wood-Mode employees seeks access to their pension funds.
Sunbury attorney Joel Wiest filed the suit this morning on behalf of Donald Yerger, of Middleburg, who worked at the plant since 1975, and his 937 co-workers who were suddenly terminated on May 13 when the custom cabinet manufacturing plant in Kreamer was shut down after 77 years.
"Despite repeated demands" Wood-Mode officials have "failed or refused" to release Yerger's pension to him, the lawsuit said.
The suit is not seeking damages, only the owed retirement funds the employees who paid into it until 2009 when it was frozen are due, said Wiest who is working free of charge on behalf of the former Wood-Mode workers.
"I am not asking for any (extra) money because I don't want to interfere with the possible sale of the company," he said.
Middleburg businessman Bill French is negotiating to purchase the Wood-Mode assets and restart the company.
The talks are progressing well, French said Friday.
"We are still negotiating and it is likely we will have a deal," he said. "I feel positive about it, but it will take a couple of weeks."
Wiest informed former employees in a Facebook post last Sunday that he was considering court action to compel the release of their pensions and 401(k) funds after reading many complaints about it.
Three days later employees were notified that the 401(k) funds were being released.
"I don't know if (the threatened legal action) had any impact," said Wiest.
Brian Wilson said he's thankful for the legal help.
"I have 16 years invested in my pension," he said of the fund that was frozen by company officials who stopped contributing to it 10 years ago.