US Mayfield candle factory will close and more than 250 workers are being laid off after Kentucky tornado

03:21  16 january  2022
03:21  16 january  2022 Source:   cnn.com

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MAYFIELD , Ky. — A candle factory destroyed by a tornado last month is laying off 250 employees who cannot be transferred to a second facility. Tornado resources: How Kentucky tornado victims can apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. Wilder worked in general production at the factory and said she'd hoped to be transferred so she could maintain an income while seeking another job. She recently qualified for disaster unemployment benefits and will receive about 0 per week — just enough to pay rent, she said.

Eight people were killed when a tornado struck a Mayfield Consumer Products building. Now, amid acrimony over whether managers could have done more to keep employees safe, there is worry about lost jobs. The Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory in Mayfield , Ky., collapsed when a strong tornado ripped The community was once graced with old Victorian storefronts but was transformed by the storm into something like a postwar postcard. The octagonal clock tower was sheared off the imposing county courthouse. The tidy grid of streets around it, laid out in the 1820s, now cuts through

The Mayfield, Kentucky, candle factory leveled by a tornado last month is shutting down and 251 employees are being laid off, a company official said.

The candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky, was destroyed by a tornado. © Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies The candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky, was destroyed by a tornado.

More than 100 people were working at the Mayfield Consumer Products (MCP) factory on December 10 when the tornado hit, killing eight people and making it one of the most devastated sites in an outbreak of at least 30 tornadoes across six states in the Midwest and South.

The facility had been "going 24/7" in part to meet Christmastime candle demand, US Rep. James Comer, who represents the area, told CNN at the time.

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Workers at a Kentucky candle factory that was destroyed by a tornado over the weekend have now filed a lawsuit against their employer alleging that they were threatened with termination if they left the facility in the hours leading up to the deadly disaster. Eight of those deaths happened at the candle factory in Mayfield . The lawsuit claims the factory had "up to three and half hours before the tornado hit its place of business to allow its employees to leave its worksite as safety precautions."

Beshear noted that while 110 workers were believed to be at the factory when the tornado hit, there have been only 40 rescues of workers by first responders. 'Don't recognize this place':Storms cut unprecedented line of destruction across Kentucky . There was concern about power at one regional hospital that started transferring patients, but the governor said "we are not concerned at the moment of hospital capacity." Beshear said there will likely be more than 70 deaths and maybe more than 100 across the state from the tornadoes that laid a path of destruction throughout western Kentucky late

In a letter this week to Kentucky's Office of Employer and Apprenticeship Services, the candle factory plant manager said that the company, "has determined that because of the recent devastating tornado ... it can no longer continue to operate."

"Although it can no longer operate in Mayfield, please know that MCP plans to continue much of its operation in Kentucky," the letter continues.

The company plans to transfer some of the affected employees to another location about 10 miles away, but it can't relocate everyone, the letter said.

"Those employees not offered a transfer to the new facility will be laid off," the letter reads.

A total of 501 people worked at the candle factory, and 250 of those jobs are being transferred, according to the letter. The rest of the workers are being laid off, the letter said.

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The candle factory destroyed by a deadly tornado in Mayfield , Kentucky , was a supplier for Bath & Body Works , which has pledged to support the community. The company issued a statement on its website saying it is supporting relief efforts in Mayfield . The company has “reached out to the factory owners to identify how we can directly support MCP associates and their families, as well as to determine other resources that would be most helpful at this time and in the months to come.”

Haley Conder was at work at the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory when it was blown apart by a tornado Friday night. She and some of her co- workers said they feared reprisal if they left to seek safer shelter at home. - Articles from The Weather Channel | weather.com. An aerial view of debris and structural damage is seen at the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory as search and rescue operations were underway after tornadoes hit Mayfield , Kentucky , on Dec. 13, 2021.

First responders rushed to the factory to help with rescue efforts after the tornado. They set up lights, and people trapped inside the debris began calling for help and telling rescuers their location, Graves County commissioner Todd Hayden previously told CNN.

Many rescuers climbed inside to find survivors, while Hayden and others stayed on the outside to help people climb out of the rubble.

Gov. Andy Beshear said the storm, which killed at least 70 people in the state, was the "most severe tornado event in Kentucky's history."

A class-action lawsuit was filed against the company last month on behalf of candle factory workers alleging they were told they would be fired if they left work ahead of the deadly tornadoes.

The lawsuit is based on the Kentucky equivalent of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, statute, said Amos Jones, the Washington, DC-based attorney who is representing some of the workers. The complainants are seeking an "unspecified amount" in financial compensation, he told CNN.

Mayfield Consumer Products did not respond to CNN's request for comment about the lawsuit. A spokesperson for the company that owns the factory previously said the company had spoken with supervisors working that night, who all denied any employees were told they'd be fired if they left.

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