Richmond County Daily Journal
When 12 APG Meridian employees went to pickup their paychecks on New Year’s Eve, they had no idea it would be their last.
Mike Burnett, supervisor of the Hamlet plant said he was on vacation until Dec. 30 and when he returned half of the equipment in the plant had been removed.
“I just found out yesterday,” Burnett said. “I still haven’t heard from the owners.”
Burnett had the unhappy burden of informing his employees that they no longer had jobs and that this was their last paycheck.
The plant has only been in Hamlet for three and a half years and employees had done work at the plant just a week prior to the supervisor’s vacation.
“I guess it was effective this past Monday,” Burnett said about the closing.
He said there has been no message to employees yet from the corporate office.
The Daily Journal attempted to contact the APG Meridian Corporate Office in Pompano Beach, Fla., but the main line had been disconnected and the 1-800 line had a message on it from Dec. 18 with no indication of when workers would return to the office.
A call was also placed to APG Meridian Chief Executive Officer Steve Kafin, and a message was left on his voicemail, but no call was received as of press time.
North Carolina has a law in place to ensure workers are not left out in the cold as they were Thursday, it’s called the N.C. WARN Act and it requires employers give employees a 60 day notice of closing or termination.
However N.C. WARN act only applies to companies who employ 100 or more workers, or are firing 50 or more employees. But because the plant had seen layoffs in the past and only 12 employees remained, the company no longer fell into these categories.
Neither County Manager Rick Sago or Mike Railton with the Richmond County Employment Security Commission knew of the plant’s closing.
Even though the 12 employees who now find themselves unemployed received no official termination notice, Railton suggested they go ahead and go online or get on the phone with Raleigh and begin the unemployment claim process.
“Eligibility isn’t determined here at the local office, and Raleigh has all sorts of different qualifications to obtain unemployment, but they should go ahead and start the process,” Railton said.
n Staff writer Eren Tataragasi can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 19 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.