Former workers of Townsends, the Delaware-based poultry processing company that filed for bankruptcy in late 2010, have been awarded a settlement that will pay 859 North Carolina employees for unpaid vacation time.
The settlement awards $157,000 to the company's Pittsboro and Siler City workers. The workers were represented in a class action lawsuit by the N.C. Justice Center and the Delaware law firm Margolis Edelstein.
Townsends filed for bankruptcy in December 2010 and closed its operations two months later.
The company's North Carolina assets were then acquired by a Ukrainian billionaire, Oleg Bakhmatyuk, for $24.9 million in February 2011.
Omtron, the U.S. shell corporation Bakhmatyuk created, spent $7 million upgrading the Siler City plant. But Omtron abruptly announced in late July that it would close the facilities in Siler City and Mocksville by Oct. 4 and lay off 1,156 workers.
At the time, Townsends also had contracts with nearly 200 chicken farmers in Chatham, Moore, Randolph and Harnett counties.
Omtron still owns the Townsends facilities.
The $157,000 settlement will be distributed among the workers based on how much vacation time they were owed by the company.
Any workers who worked for the Siler City or Pittsboro Townsends plants and lost their jobs between January 5 and February 25, 2011, were not paid owed vacation pay, and have not received a settlement payment should contact Jessica Rocha at the NC Justice Center at 866-446-8398.