WARSAW, Ind. (AP) -- Monaco Coach Corp. is arguing that it did not need to give hundreds of laid-off workers the required 60 days notice of plant closings in northern Indiana because it would have undermined its efforts to obtain financing or sell itself.
Monaco, based in Coburg, Ore., announced last week that it had given termination notices to most of its remaining workers and that it may need to shut down permanently. Most of the recreational vehicle maker's affected employees have been on furlough since mid-December.
Under the 1989 Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, companies are required to provide 60 days notice before making mass layoffs or plant closings.
Monaco said in a notice filed March 3 with the state Department of Workforce Development, that 515 employees would be permanently discharged and more employees had received notice with termination dates. The notice affects nearly 400 workers at a plant in Warsaw, along with others in Wakarusa and Milford.
"If a sale does not occur, or the requisite financing is not obtained, all of Monaco's operations will be permanently shut down," said the notice, signed by company Vice President Rich Kangail. "Consequently, all of Monaco's approximately 2,200 employees would be terminated in several phases with no opportunity to bump into other positions."
Monaco announced in July it was closing the Wakarusa plant and plants in Elkhart and Nappanee in September, idling 1,400 workers. On March 5, it filed for bankruptcy, saying it owes between $100 million and $500 million and has assets in the same range.
Monaco said additional "unforeseen business circumstances precluded" its ability to give 60 days notice to workers. Among the reasons cited were the economy, record gasoline prices last year, the credit crunch, the declining stock market and rising unemployment.
Layoffs from northern Indiana's RV plants have been the driving factor in skyrocketing unemployment in the area, with Elkhart County's jobless rate at 18.3 percent in January and Kosciusko County, which includes Warsaw, at 14 percent.