Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Those Darn Lumps of Flesh
I knew someone must have come up with a convenient listing of plant closings and layoffs. Here's one:
Tons of (actually, only Some) Plant Closings
Did you know that the company firing you is supposed to give you plenty of advance WARNing?
The Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification Act (WARN) is a federal law which requires employers to provide advanced notification to workers when faced with a plant closing or mass layoff.Illinois has a pretty good site here to tell you about it.
WARN requires that employers with 100 or more full-time workers give employees 60 days notice in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs if they:
-- Close a facility of 50 or more workers
-- Discontinue an operating unit of 50 or more workers
-- Lay off 50 to 499 workers, and these layoffs constitute 33% of the total work force at a single employment site
-- Lay off 500 or more workers at a single employment site (Although some businesses are exempt from WARN, the law encourages all employers to give workers sufficient notice, to the extent possible)
UPDATE: Further investigation shows that most (if not all) states have the WARN notices up online (you can Google them). The Illinois notices are current through March.
What happens is that a company reports the intention to fire 1000 workers at the time they release their quarterly report. Then, as they get closer to the actual WARN deadline, they fax the layoff notice to the plant manager, who then gets the word out. The press doesn't report anything that isn't "newsworthy" (ie, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jackson, Jessica Simpson, Janet Jackson), so I suspect most of these events get only very local coverage of the job loss.
The more I look into stuff like this, the more I realize how poorly educated I am. WARN has been around since 1988, and a good thing too, since, like Typhoid Mary, I used to go around and set up outplacement centers in advance of the workers knowing what was going on. An anecdote is brewing, and will be posted in due course.
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