KEY POINT: Anthony Flaccavento emphasized the 60-day notification requirement set by the WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act and said that some employees may not have received their warnings early enough. The press release also states Flaccavento was concerned by the “loss of promised severance pay” that many employees anticipated.
Washington County News
Candidates vying for Virginia’s 9th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives have reached out to Bristol Compressors employees in Washington County, who will soon lose their jobs when the company closes by the end of September.
Bristol Compressors is one of the largest employers in Washington County, but the manufacturing company announced on July 31 that it would close in 60 days, citing a lack of cash. Over 470 employees will be affected, some of whom have worked for the company since it opened 43 years ago.
On Aug. 16, about 16 Bristol Compressors employees met with Democratic candidate Anthony Flaccavento at Sugar Hollow Park to discuss the impact on their families and the community. After the meeting, Flaccavento announced he would set up a hotline through his campaign to inform workers of their legal rights. The phone line opened officially today.
“We just wanted somebody to listen to our concerns,” said Joanne Booher, a Bristol Compressors employee. “[Flaccavento] seems like he’s the kind who would try to help or find someone who will.”
The Help Line will serve as a temporary resource for employees to learn about their rights as workers, including “their rights under federal law, opportunities available to them for retraining, health insurance options through the federal exchange, and what recourse they might have if they believe their rights have been violated,” according to a press release.
Flaccavento emphasized the 60-day notification requirement set by the WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act and said that some employees may not have received their warnings early enough. The press release also states Flaccavento was concerned by the “loss of promised severance pay” that many employees anticipated.
Employees may call the Help Line between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 276-698-6100.
Flaccavento’s opponent, U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-9th, also met with Bristol Compressors employees on Aug. 22. On Facebook, Griffith said he used the meeting to offer “information about state and federal resources available to them that can be of help during this uncertain time.”
Griffith said Washington County has filed a petition on behalf of Bristol Compressors to qualify for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which offers income support and allowances to connect workers to training courses to obtain new job skills. In the Facebook post, Griffith said he would look for opportunities to expedite the process of approving Bristol Compressors’ petition.
“My Abingdon office is also able to provide information on upcoming job fairs and additional resources,” Griffith wrote. He praised local workers for their “proven track record of reliability.”
Two job fairs organized by local cities and organizations have already taken place to help displaced employees obtain work in the area.