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ShopVac doles out termination notices

Shop-Vac on Reach Road in Williamsport on Tuesday afternoon. KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette

Williamsport has taken a huge hit with a major vacuum manufacturer conducting mass layoffs as plant workers were given notice of termination.

Many of the first-shift workers Tuesday at The Shop-Vac Corp., 2323 Reach Road, located in the industrial park, carried out letters of termination in their hands.

One displaced worker held onto all of her desk items in a cardboard box.

“It’s been 20 years,” she said, loading the box into a sport utility vehicle. “It’s going to be hard starting over.”

In the termination letter, a requirement under Department of Labor regulations as part of the Workers Adjustment, Retraining and Notification Act, workers were informed the global COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis has resulted in the company facing dire financial conditions.

The company is required to distribute the letters under federal legislation to offer protection to workers, their families and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of a covered-business closing and covered-business mass layoffs.

The letter continued on to explain that the company was trying to negotiate a sale and that if that would have occurred the potential existed for continuing to keep the workforce.

“We fully anticipated the sale to be completed and for the buyer to hire all employees,” the letter stated.

Mayor Derek Slaughter expressed his shock at the announcement. Jason Fink, president of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday he was trying to learn more details about the layoffs.

To help the displaced workers, two employees with Blaise Alexander Family Dealerships were handing out notices informing them they would be able to be interviewed and potentially find work at the 19 vehicle dealerships in the region.

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