Workers at Closed American LaFrance Plant to Receive Severance Pay

A settlement that provides six-week severance packages to former workers of a shuttered Moncks Corner fire truck manufacturer received final approval in U.S. District Court.

Former employees of American LaFrance will receive compensation for owed salary and benefits stemming from the plant’s sudden shutdown in January 2014. Workers arrived at the plant on January 17, 2014 to learn that the company would cease operations immediately and that they would receive no severance packages.

Plaintiffs Olivia and James Schreiner filed a class action on behalf of the workers alleging the company’s actions put it in violation of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires workers to be paid and receive benefits for 60 days when companies of a certain size reduce their workforce.

The settlement agreement, approved by U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel, calls for American LaFrance and Patriarch Partners, which plaintiffs contend controlled American LaFrance, to provide lump sum payments totaling $385,000 to approximately 100 former workers at the Moncks Corner plant.

“This settlement enables the workers to close the books on a tumultuous chapter of their lives,” said lead counsel James L. Ward, Jr. of Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman, which represents the employees. “Imagine arriving to your workplace to find that it had suddenly closed and you were not getting any help. These employees were left in the lurch while they watched a private equity firm dismantle and liquidate the iconic fire truck brand’s assets.”

Prior to its abrupt closing, American LaFrance employed about 500 workers at locations in California, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, about 100 of whom were based at the company’s Moncks Corner facility. Workers at the company’s other locations did not quality for compensation because the employer’s headcount at those facilities did not meet federal thresholds.

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