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Suit by former AB&C workers in W.Va. to proceed as class action

October 07, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A Martinsburg attorney representing former AB&C Group workers in a back-wages lawsuit over two local AB&C plant shutdowns earlier this year said Monday that he and two other lawyers are now expecting to represent hundreds of former AB&C workers in the case now that a judge has ruled the suit can proceed as a class action.

Two former AB&C workers initially brought the suit and attorney David Hammer said Monday he now expects to help represent more than 400 former AB&C workers since Berkeley County Circuit Judge Christopher Wilkes ruled Sept. 30 that the suit can proceed as a class action.

Former local AB&C workers will automatically be included in the suit, Hammer said.

Workers will have to ask not to be included if they do not wish to be parties to the suit, Hammer said.

As a class, the workers could be eligible to split any money owed to them through back wages if they are successful in the suit, which is set for trial on Dec. 1 in Berkeley County Circuit Court, Hammer said.

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Hammer said previously that he and attorneys Robert J. Schiavoni and Garry G. Geffert could end up representing about 400 former AB&C workers in an attempt to recoup about $1.6 million in wages and penalties.

Workers at the AB&C plant off Fairfax Avenue in Ranson, W.Va., were expecting paychecks March 14 but were instead told to clean out their desks because they would not be able to return to work. Some workers received checks, while others did not, officials said.

Workers at a AB&C Group plant in a former General Motors plant in Berkeley County faced the same situation, officials said.

Hammer said previously that some former AB&C workers are owed three weeks worth of pay. On top of that, employers must pay a penalty when they do not give workers their paychecks, Hammer said.

The penalty is three times the amount paid, Hammer said.

AB&C officials could not be reached for comment when the suit was initially filed.

The suit was initially brought by Carla Coble and Stephanie Laing, who worked as "pickers" at the Berkeley County plant off W.Va. 9 west of Martinsburg, Hammer said.

AB&C handled bulk mailing for various companies, and pickers are workers who packed mailings for AB&C Group's client companies, Hammer said.

Find out more

Any former AB&C workers who have questions about the class-action case can contact attorney David Hammer at 304-264-8505 or by e-mailing him at dhammer@hfslawyers.com.

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