The Bristol Herald Courier is reporting that Exide Technologies violated a federal law that's supposed to protect workers and their families Wednesday when the firm announced it was cutting nearly 600 jobs at its Bristol battery plant.
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires that companies provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings or mass layoffs.
“With this many layoffs, the employer is required to notify us, the chief elected official of the local government, and a union representative, if applicable,” said Jeff Hentschel, Tennessee Department of Employment and Workforce Development communications director. “We received the notice today, and the 60 days is clearly explained in the act, so I’d say they were not in compliance.”
Mayor Joel Staton, the city’s chief elected official, was not available for comment Wednesday, but City Manager Jeff Broughton said the city was notified Wednesday morning before the announcement and that “they [Exide] did what they were supposed to do.”
Kristin Wollheben, with J. Addams & Partners Inc., an Atlanta firm that handles public relations for Exide, was asked whether the company followed required WARN Act procedures.
“Other than what’s in the news release [provided by Exide about the layoffs], I really can’t comment,” she said.
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