Five former Wood-Mode employees joined Sunbury attorney Joel Wiest in a meeting with Gov. Tom Wolf, Sen. John Gordner and Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver in Harrisburg Tuesday to discuss the May 13 sudden closure of the Kreamer plant.
At the meeting, concerns of many of the 938 laid-off workers were raised.
In a statement, Wiest said he and the employees decided that in the event Wood-Mode owners Robert Gronlund and his son, Brooks Gronlund, “continue to not cooperate with all of these efforts to make the former employees whole and pursue a prudent way forward to sell the company to a responsible buyer” they would ask for a criminal investigation of the pair to determine if any laws were broken.
Snyder County District Attorney Michael Piecuch said he has received several specific complaints from former employees that he has turned over to the state Attorney General’s Office.
“The governor and the state legislative delegation remain extremely concerned about the current situation,” Wiest said. “The quality of work the former employees performed made the Wood-Mode brand a leader in the cabinet business nationwide and all involved will continue their efforts to ensure the former employees’ rights are protected and try to find the best possible solution to this very unfortunate turn of events.”
The Gronlunds and the company’s former human resources director, David Scarr, have not responded to calls for comment since the closure.
In a posting on the Wood-Mode Facebook page, Wiest was more direct in telling former employees that state officials are working with the “proper criminal investigative authorities in order to uncover any and all potential criminal actions, and further to attempt to force the corporate owners to resolve ongoing problems such as the ability to regain your personal belongings, the payment of all monies currently due and owing to you all in vacation, hours worked, etc., and regarding your inability to work with your own retirement accounts.”
Wiest added that, while he could not publicly disclose more information, he said Wolf is imposing a “short time limit” for the Gronlunds to handle the issues “before civil proceedings become the least of their worries.”
Michele Sanders, a Wood-Mode employee for 22 years before she was laid off earlier this month, said she’s pleased someone is pursuing the matter.
“I think there are things going on behind the scenes,” the Selinsgrove resident said.
Some employees, like Tammy Landis, are hopeful the plant will reopen under new ownership.
“I’m not giving up,” she said.
Maurice Brubaker, a tax and accountant professional from Lewisburg, is leading a group of investors interested in buying the plant and keeping jobs in Snyder County. Brubaker and his team discussed the plan with Wood-Mode representatives last week and would only say that he expects the talks to continue.