Workers cope with Jevic shutdown

May 27, 2008 3:40:14 PM PDT
10 days ago workers at Jevic Transportation had jobs and a paycheck on the way. The next day they were out of work. To add insult to injury some of the workers say their final paycheck has bounced. The company has said they will make good on those checks, but has provided little else at this point in time.

Now, those 1,200 workers are in need of new jobs and benefits, and today local and state officials tried to help them take the first steps to getting back on their feet with a survival workshop.

Former Jevic employee Francine Traver says, "I'm still in state of shock that company actually went down."

Anger, worry, frustration - the emotions are still strong here. Hundreds of former Jevic workers gathered to hear from local and state officials. This was a crash course on unemployment... how do get medical care for their kids, how to protect their 401Ks, find a new job.

A week and a day ago everyone here got the word they were no longer needed.

Dawn Kulesza says, "There's no severance package, there's no benefits. There's absolutely nothing. Just, that was it... sorry, you're done."

"So far I've contacted my creditors to let them know what the situation was and trying to get them to set up some kind of delay payment plan so that we can get back on our feet," said Bruce Borden.

Jevic says tight money and expensive diesel fuel forced it into bankruptcy. But did it violate state law by closing without warning? Some officials think under a 2006 New Jersey law Jevic, which is part of a huge multi-billion dollar holding company, owes workers a severance package.

State Sen. Diane Allen says, "Under our law these employees should be given one week of severance for every year they have worked. And they should have been given 60 days notice so they had time to find a new job and get acclimated and get new health insurance. What happened is these people were just thrown out on the street."

The group also heard from a private attorney who is representing eight of the workers who filed a suit. The group was told any sort of legal resolution to try and get a severance package could take a year or more. Meantime, hundreds of people in Burlington County are trying to figure out how to live the next days, weeks, and months.