Florida sawmill files bankruptcy and shuts down; employees sue
May 12, 2020 | 4:31 pm UTC
LIVE OAK, Fla. - Austrian-owned Klausner Lumber One is seeking Chapter 11 protection for its Florida sawmill with more than $100 million in debt.
Klausner reportedly shut down the mill abruptly March 16 - around the same time its Austrian-born management team returned to their home country due to fears of the virus. The company said it told workers they would be paid through the full closing week.
But employees say they haven't received pay since two weeks before the closure. In a lawsuit, employees claim Klausner failed to provide at least a 60-day notice, violating the WARN Act.
Workers "were laid off without cause by Klausner as part or as the reasonably foreseeable result of plant shutdowns or mass layoffs," the complaint said.
Law360 reports that a twin plant in North Carolina had also shut down around the same time. Both plants employ around 250 workers and produce around 350 million board feet of southern yellow pine lumber annually.
The mill has had problems since its opening in 2014, including temporary shutdowns and layoffs.
The case is underway. See the full story here.
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