710 E Street, Suite 150
Eureka, CA 95501
Dear Assemblyman Chesbro:
If you will give us a moment of your time, we would like to inform you of our circumstances. We were employees of Evergreen Pulp, Inc. The company closed down and laid us off in the middle of October, 2008. Evergreen employed over 200 workers. Just imagine the stress, depression, and anxiety we are experiencing as a result of losing our life-long careers, loss of income, and loss of health insurance. Many of us either have no health insurance, or we are paying huge premiums with high deductibles. Factor into this the loss of our social network. We are suffering from the absence of the daily camaraderie of our family-like community of fellow workers.
All of this is devastating enough, but when you compound it by chronic health issues and the betrayal of a company in which we had faith and trust, it makes this blow so much harder to withstand. We believe Evergreen Pulp engaged in illegal business practices that violated our employees’ rights. Firstly, we were laid off without the notification requirements of the Federal and California WARN Act. Secondly, the company violated the Federal ERISA laws pertaining to pensions and COBRA coverage. Thirdly, the company willfully misled us into believing we had medical insurance when in fact they did not pay our medical bills for the months of October, November, and December. Some of our people have unpaid medical bills going back further than those months. The total of unpaid medical bills is over $400,000. We don’t know where to turn for help or if there is any justice for us.
Now, take into account the obstacles we face as unemployed, displaced workers in this time of economic down turn. We feel ill equipped to cope. We don’t know where to begin to regain some control over our reeling lives. We feel helpless and overwhelmed.
Also we want to inform you that our county is in desperate need of jobs. We are displaced workers in a county where jobs have been dwindling for years. This is the county where our children go to schools and where we have families and homes. Where is there to go from here?
We would appreciate any help or advice you can offer us. Our signatures and phone numbers are provided on a separate sheet.
AWPPW, Local 49
Contact Person: Tom Reilly, Union President, home phone (707) 443-9267
If you are a past worker or a concerned local citizen, please sign a petition or call Wes Chesbro's office at 445-7014 and say you agree.
Joy Mathson put this letter together. Her husband John has cancer and has been going through chemo for awhile and has medical bills over $60,000 that his family thought was covered through our labor agreement. I have worked with John for over 25 years. Others from the mill have medical debts in question also. I am so upset this has happened to our membership. We need Single Payer Health coverage.
Or at least employers who are responsible.
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