Employees consider legal action after Falcon Transportation suddenly closes

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio-- Four days after learning that their company had shut down and they were without jobs, former truck drivers of Falcon Transportation in Youngstown say they still feel betrayed.

"I could have got things in line. Me personally, I don't know about anybody else, but I have about $4,000 worth of prescriptions I pay for every month. I need my health insurance. You know, to drop the health insurance just like that, that hurts," said Chris Bartels, of Streetsboro, on Wednesday.

Bartels was among dozens of drivers who met with attorneys in Austintown on Wednesday to discuss what legal action they might be entitled to take. Some of the drivers said the company still owes them back pay from paychecks they never received.

Many feel the company violated the law by not giving them 60 days notice, citing the federal WARN act. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires employers with more than 100 employees to give their employees at least 60 days notice so they can try to find new jobs or retrain.

Falcon had more than 500 employees, most of them truck drivers.

Some of those drivers learned about their company closing when they received a text message on an on board screen late Saturday instructing them to stop whatever they were doing for the company immediately.

In an email sent to employees on Sunday, Falcon executives explained they did not give them 60 days notice because of unforeseen business circumstances. The email concluded that sending notices earlier would have jeopardized the company's now-failed efforts to obtain further funding.

Former employees meeting on Wednesday said the company "back doored" them by not giving them the required notice.

"I would like to see, you know them, have to go by the law. Whatever the law says that they have to do. I don't want any more than I'm entitled to," Bartels said.

The attorneys would not comment on camera.

Jay Kelley, managing partner of Elk and Elk, told FOX 8 that he was in the process of gathering information to determine what action his firm might be entitled to take on behalf of the workers, which could also include a demand for unpaid wages.

"Everybody here just wants answers as to what's next with their life and what can they do because we still got money that we haven't got paid so it is a big issue and I'm pretty sure everybody out here feels that way," said Vandale Hodge of Bedford, who has only worked for the company for one month, but claims he received only two of his weekly paychecks.

Falcon was among the companies that was negatively impacted by the closing of the General Motors Lordstown plant in March, its largest customer. In Sunday's email, executives explained they were out of options for loans and other efforts to get financial backing.

Aside from the legalities, employees said the company should have given them notice because it is the right thing for them to have done.

"I would have been happy with that that way I could survive and get back up on my feet because right now I cant I'm just digging out now," said Ed McKean.

Continuing coverage of this story here

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