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Former Western RV Workers Sue Company

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June 4, 2009 by   Leave a Comment

Former managers and employees of Western Recreational Vehicles Inc. in Union Gap, Wash., have filed suit in federal court for reimbursement of unpaid benefits and damages.

The complaint, filed Tuesday (June 2) in U.S. District Court in Yakima, alleges the company failed to pay accrued vacation and provide the required 60-day notice when it ceased operations in April 2008, according to the Yakima Herald-Republic.

The high-end motorhome manufacturer laid off about 220 workers when it shut down production at its plant in Union Gap.

The lawsuit names 26 former salaried and hourly workers as plaintiffs. In addition to the unpaid vacation, former employees claim Western RV withheld the cost of medical and dental premiums from their paychecks after canceling health coverage without notifying employees.

“As a result, plaintiffs have incurred damages consisting of medical and dental expenses and wages due in an amount to be proven at trial,” the complaint said.

Under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), employers are required to provide 60-day notice before shutting down an employment site or one or more facilities that results in job losses for 50 or more employees.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are Western Recreational Vehicles and Philip Von Burg, listed as vice president of the firm when the firm closed its doors.

The suit does not specify a damage amount.

Yakima attorney Wade Gano, who is representing the former employees, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Western RV had operated in Yakima since 1971, manufacturing motorhomes, fifth-wheel trailers and campers. The founders of the company, Bill and Suzanne Doyle, sold the company to an equity firm, Monomoy Capital Partners of New York City, in 2006.

The firm was operating in Union Gap when it closed, citing a declining market for its products, some of which carried price tags of $500,000.

Western RV tried unsuccessfully to merge with an Indiana RV manufacturer prior to its closure.

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