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Willig, Williams & Davidson Helps AFSCME-represented Employees Affected by Hospital Closing Receive $580K in Outstanding Wage and Benefit Contributions

April 22, 2013

In March 2012, Saint Catherine Medical Center, an acute care hospital in Ashland, Pennsylvania, Schuylkill County, unceremoniously closed its doors and subsequently filed for bankruptcy. Patients were transferred to other facilities and all employees lost their jobs. The employees' Union, AFSCME District Council 89, immediately brought in their lawyers, Willig, Williams & Davidson, to recoup money owed. It readily became apparent that St. Catherine Medical Center had failed to meet payroll for the weeks leading up to the facility’s closure.

Willig, Williams & Davidson filed claims on behalf of approximately 100 AFSCME-represented employees in Bankruptcy Court to obtain back wages. AFSCME also filed claims seeking reimbursement of accumulated paid time off, short term disability and supplemental life insurance contributions, and improperly deducted 401(k) and Roth IRA contributions on behalf of AFSCME members.

Willig, Williams & Davidson also filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification ("WARN") Act claim on behalf of the employees. The WARN Act is a federal law which offers protection to workers and their families and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs. An employer who violates the WARN Act provisions by closing a facility without providing appropriate notice is liable to each aggrieved employee for an amount including back pay and benefits for the period of the violation, up to 60 days.

On the wage claims, Willig, Williams & Davidson was able to negotiate a resolution with the Trustee in the Bankruptcy proceeding to pay AFSCME members over $180,000.00 in outstanding wages. On March 28, 2013, the Union distributed checks to all members reflecting wages owed. Willig, Williams & Davidson's lawyers were also successful in obtaining return of employee contributions to their 401(k) and Roth IRA plans. Willig, Williams & Davidson lawyers are currently negotiating with the Trustee for payment of the WARN Act claim which would result in over $400K in payments to the employees.

   
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