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Toothless WARN act needs attention

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:51 PM

The WARN Act is now receiving some long overdue attention as a result of the series of Blade articles in mid July. The Act that was supposed to require employers to give at least 60 days notice of large layoffs or plant closings has been anything but effective. Many people right here in our region have suffered the undignified consequences of abrupt income and benefit loss.

I recently had the privilege of touring the juice plant at Campbell Soup Company on the occasion of its 50 th anniversary in Napoleon. My tour guide was a man who has worked for the company for many years and proudly brought his family for the tour.

As I marveled at the mechanization and efficiency, and the 50 years of production in Napoleon, I was even more impressed with the competence, pride and loyalty of my tour guide and the other employees. It was an intense reminder of the mutually beneficial bond that exists between the workers, the company and community.

But what if my tour guide was told without warning that today was his last day of work? The impact on the workers and our community would be devastating.

Thanks to the integrity of Campbell Soup Company, that ugly thought is not likely to happen. But no thanks are due to our Congressman for any efforts to give the federal law some teeth. You would think that 20 years of seniority in Congress, and a 12 year reign in the powerful majority party could bring some measurable benefit to a district with such a high concentration of blue collar workers. But alas, direct worker requests to the Congressman to address this weak legislation remain fruitless.

Fixing the WARN Act so that workers aren't treated like disposable gloves, is the least we can do. If you agree, tell Rep. Gillmor to follow Sen. Sherrod Brown's lead in fixing the WARN Act.

Robin Weirauch


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