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CLOSED PLANT'S WORKERS LOOK TO FUTURE
PENNSYLVANIA TEXTILE
CO. SHUTDOWN CATCHES THE
HEAD OF A HAZLETON BUSINESS
DEVELOPMENT GROUP OFF GUARD

By BRIAN MALINA; Times Leader Staff Writer

Saturday, May 30, 1998     Page: 3A

HAZLE TWP.- A secretary sat alone Friday in a dimly lit office at Pennsylvania Textile Co. in Valmont Industrial Park.
    She was one of only a handful of employees who remained at the plant Friday, two days after it closed.
    "Nobody's here," she said when asked for the plant manager.
    Another employee, who did not give her name, said the company shut down Wednesday and only a few employees remained to fill orders and clean up.
    The employee referred additional questions to plant manager Adam Feldman, who was out of town Friday and could not be reached for comment.
    The textile plant, which dyed fabric for the garment industry, has been located in the Valmont Industrial Park for about 15 years and employed about 125 people until the recent closing, according to CAN DO, which operates the park.
    Kevin O'Donnell, executive director of CAN DO, said he first heard rumblings of problems at Penn-Tex a few weeks ago, but did not expect the plant to shut down so quickly. "I didn't find out until I read it in the paper."
    It is unclear if employees were notified of the potential closing before this week.
    The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 requires companies with 100 or more employees, excluding part-timers, to give workers 60 days notice before beginning mass layoffs. The law also applies to companies with 100 or more employees who work a total of 4,000 hours per week, not including overtime.
    Violators can be required to pay wages and benefits for 60 days for laid-off employees, interest and attorney's fees.
    Other employees at the plant Friday refused to talk about the circumstances surrounding the closing. "It's a sad thing; we're all out of job," said one worker, who also would not give her name.
    O'Donnell said CAN DO will work hard to fill the soon-to-be-vacant 200,000-square-foot plant Penn-Tex plant.
    "It's a building that could be used for many different things," O'Donnell said. "We'll put information out that it's available."
    O'Donnell said he has prospective companies in mind to fill the space but declined to name them. He said he could not guarantee that another textile firm would move in.
    "It's a shame. There's an effect whenever a community losses a business like that. People depend on it for their livelihood."
    TIMES LEADER/PETE G. WILCOX
    The Penn-Tex plant along Jaycee Drive in the Valmont Industrial Park, was shut down Wednesday, according to an employee.
   
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