HONOLULU(KHON2)–Former Meadow Gold employees said money the company promised to pay them was deposited in their accounts, then taken back without notice.
Meadow Gold and its parent corporation Dean Foods, gave its workers just two weeks notice before it closed its Honolulu facility, but the company promised to compensate them.
A former employee, who asked only to be identified as William, said he was shocked when he checked his bank account just days after the money was deposited, and it was gone.
William said he and many of his coworkers feel betrayed and helpless.
“It was shocking…I don’t know what to do.”
The former Meadow Gold driver said he worked for the company for 14 years.
He was surprised when they announced the facility would close.
He said the only saving grace was they were promised additonal pay– as long as they stayed through April 30.
“They told the employees ‘please stay on board, serve the customers,’ which I stayed loyal to the company and stayed all the way to the end.”
In a letter dated April 13th, Meadow Gold told employees: “You will recieve approximately six weeks of pay at your base pay rate in lieu of our ability to provide advance notice under WARN”
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires businesses to give 60 days notice to workers before closing, or provide the payment.
William said he was paid on April 30, but grew concerned after other workers told him their money was recalled.
“I checked my account today and it was taken out…This money could have lasted us at least three months with this six-week payout.”
Now William’s afraid he won’t be able to pay his bills.
“I have two mortgages. I have family to take care of so this is like shocking and I can’t believe no one called me or emailed me.”
According to Wayne Kaululaau, Hawaii Teamsters Union Local 996 president, William isn’t the only former Meadow Gold employee this happened to.
“Probably 241 or so members, plus the non-bargaining unit members who work upstairs in the office,” Kaululaau explained.
The union reached out to Meadow Gold and Dean Foods for answers.
“Basically they say there was a mistake done and they didn’t warn anyone, they just took all the money back,” Kaululaau said.
KHON: “Did they say what kind of mistake?”
“No they didn’t say what the mistake was. But that’s how it’s been dealing with them for the past month. They’d say one thing, then they do something else.”
Kaululaau said they are trying to work with Dean Foods in bankruptcy court to recover the money.
“I’m hoping the bankruptcy doesn’t hold it up and they say they have no money, they can’t pay us out,” William said.
KHON reached out to Meadow Gold and Dean Foods for comment and is waiting for a response.