Department of Labor 'looking into' EIT layoffs

By Matt Porter

April 25, 2013 Updated Apr 25, 2013 at 6:28 PM EDT

Endicott, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The New York State Department of Labor says it's looking into recent layoffs by Endicott Interconnect Technologies to see if it violated disclosure law.

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires companies to disclose major layoffs early to employees and the public.

The law stipulates companies must provide 90 days notice to employees in the event of a plant closure or mass layoffs.

A "mass layoff" is defined as a reduction of 33 percent of a company's workforce. The number must be at least 25 people.

If a company lays off 250 or more workers, it must also provide 90 days notice according to the WARN Act.

However, the Department of Labor said the rules are not completely defined and inspectors look at each company on a case by case basis.

Republican State Senator Tom Libous heralded the deal establishing Endicott Interconnect in 2002 and said he was disappointed in EIT's lack of growth.

"It's sad, certainly the hope was that the company would prosper," Libous said, "I don't like to see anybody lose a job. I don't want to see anyone unemployed, that's why we worked so hard to try and create jobs."

EIT's former CEO Jay McNamara reported the company was down to 605 jobs earlier this month in a statement to the US District Court.

A two-thirds reduction of the 2,000 workers it started with a decade ago.

The labor department can fine companies or restore back benefits to workers if there are violations.

Libous said he's confident in the department's ability to sort out the situation.

"If they're supposed to do something through the labor department," he said, "Believe me the labor department will go after them and find them."

The labor department said it is also focusing on helping laid off employees find new jobs.

All former EIT employees are encouraged to visit the New York "One-Stop" employment centers for job counseling. There are two "One-Stop" locations in the Southern Tier, one in Binghamton and another in Owego.

EIT is being sued for failing to make payments on a corporate jet.

McNamara said in the statement if the company loses and is forced to pay more than $11.5 million in restitution, the entire company could be at risk for bankruptcy.

County Executive Debbie Preston's office was asked for a comment on the lack of public communications involving layoffs from EIT.

The county executive's office had no comment.

EIT was unable to be reached for comment for this story.