The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development says SNE Enterprises, Inc., a division of Schield Family Brands, violated a business closing law when it laid off hundreds of employees over the last year by not providing a specific closing date.
The violation could cost the maker of windows and doors more than $350,000.
In December of 2011, the company notified 437 employees at SNE that the plant would be closing and terminations would begin in February and continue throughout August, but the company did not give an exact date of when the plant would close.
Gig Christenson, a Carpenters Industrial Council union representative for many SNE employees, noticed the discrepancy and filed a complaint with DWD's equal rights division shortly after.
"We had questions on the warn notice because there was no drop dead date and the warn notice has to be handed out 60 days in advance of a plant closing," Christenson said.
After an investigation that took nearly a year, DWD decided that the company had violated the business law and that 109 employees are entitled to split $319,335.91 in benefits and wages. It is to be split depending on individual employees' hours and wages from an 8.5 week period.
"We think they made the right decision," said Gig Christenson. "It's a sad day. Although there will be some people who will hopefully receive some money, it's not gonna replace their jobs."
Larry Pelot worked at SNE for 39 years before he was terminated on August 16th. He says conditions at the plant were up and down throughout his time there. Weather Shield took over the company in 2002.
"The last ten years were the worst of them all," Pelot said.
Pelot has not been able to find work.
SNE is also ordered to pay the Department of Workforce Development $30,000 for not notifying the Mosinee mayor of the mass layoff 60 days prior.
Brandon Brunner, corporate counsel for SNE says the company has filed an appeal and says some of DWD's findings as facts in certain are incorrect.
"No, we didn't violate the business closing law," he said.
It's unclear how long the appeal process will take, but none of the 109 employees entitled to a check will receive one until it's over.
Those specific employees have not been notified. Christenson says he's holding off until he's certain they will be paid.
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