Two petitions filed Wednesday in Harrisburg federal court seek certification as a class action lawsuit against Wood-Mode following the Snyder County cabinet maker’s abrupt closure announced Monday.
Both complaints allege Wood-Mode violated the WARN Act by failing to provide 60 days notice that the manufacturing firm would shut down. Each action seeks a judgement against the company equal to pay wages, vacation time, retirement, health benefits and more for a period of 60 days.
The complaints were filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. They each name only one plaintiff, both said to be former employees, and ask the judge to certify the competing firms as the designated counsel for a certified class action lawsuit.
Large employers typically must give workers two months warning before plant closings, but the law includes three exceptions, including one for faltering businesses that are up for sale or can’t find financing, according to the state Department of Labor and Industry.
Wood-Mode’s closure will cost 938 employees their jobs, according to a company notice filed with the state. The notice indicated that administrative workers would be laid off immediately on Monday and production workers would be laid off in phases ending by May 24.
Attorney Samuel J. Cordes, Rothmans Gordon, Pittsburgh, filed on behalf of William Swede of Union County. Attorney James Huggett, Margolis Edelstein, Wilmington, Del., filed on behalf of Curtis Trego of Snyder County.
Each complaint looks to add in all furloughed employees protected by the WARN Act.
Swede alerted former colleagues in a Facebook post that attorneys involved in his petition will meet with furloughed employees today from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Selinsgrove VFW, Route 522.