Former American LaFrance Workers Sue Over Plant Shutdown

Contrary to a prior public statement, American LaFrance LLC didn’t shut its Moncks Corner plant in mid-January.

The failed fire truck manufacturer said in a federal plant-closing notice provided to state officials that its actual last day in Berkeley County was Tuesday.

Representatives of American LaFrance owner Patriarch Partners LLC did not respond to email and phone messages seeking comment.

The two companies are facing a lawsuit for allegedly violating the Labor Department’s “WARN Act.” WARN is short for Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification.

The federal act requires most companies with 100 or more employees to provide written notice 60 calendar days or more before a factory shutdown or mass layoffs.

American LaFrance said it had 101 workers at its Moncks Corner assembly plant.

The company submitted its closing notification Jan. 24, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce said Tuesday. It didn’t appear on a state website that lists WARN Act notices in South Carolina until this week.

American LaFrance submitted the paperwork one week after announcing it was permanently mothballing its remaining three plants.

It was filed the same day that Ladson residents Olivia Schreiner and James Schreiner sued the company over alleged WARN Act violations.

The Schreiners worked for American LaFrance for 10 years. Their lawsuit seeks continuation of health care coverage, pay for unused vacation time and sick days, and other forms of compensation for 60 days after they were terminated.

Attorneys for the Schreiners said ni a court document that exemptions to the WARN Act don’t apply in this case.

American LaFrance and Patriarch Partners have not yet filed a response to the lawsuit.

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