JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. — Around 100 workers and their loved ones gathered outside the Legacy Supply Chain Services warehouse in Jeffersonville Tuesday afternoon to rally to save their jobs.
"Look, we're your best option, your most experienced, knowledgeable personnel to do the job," Jammie Willen, a 22-year employee of the facility, said.
Willen, who also serves as the president of the union representing most of the workers at Legacy, IUE-CWA Local 84807, said he and his fellow employees received a warn notice last Monday their company, Tri-Starr Management Services, would be closing its operations at the Jeffersonville warehouse facility.
"All of our members are also losing all their benefits, their tenure here, like myself - 22 years of service here," said Willen. "They're just tossing us to the side."
The warehouse, which ships parts for General Electric Appliances, will not close, according to GE spokesperson Julie Wood.
Wood said the company has hired Dart Logistics as the new service provider and will handle the staffing and managing of the facility beginning on March 9.
"GE Appliances has four parts warehouses across the country and currently there are three different service providers managing them," Wood wrote in an email to WHAS11. "We made the strategic decision to move from three service providers to one to simplify operations and better serve customers."
Wood says Dart Logistics also manages seven other GE Appliances parts warehouses and distribution centers.
Willen said Dart is asking employees to reapply for their jobs through a temporary staffing agency instead of directly hiring them and letting them keep their wages and benefits.
"Do direct hiring in their company, not force us to go through a temporary agency where we don't even know if we're going to have a job or not," Willen said. "It's very possible that over 200 are going to be without jobs, without health insurance, without 401k. They're losing all their vacation time they earned over the years. Very devastating."
Unfortunately for Willen and these employees, this is not a foreign process.
President and CEO of One Southern Indiana Wendy Dant Chesser said in these cases where another company takes over, workers are often the ones that suffer the most.
"They may have the experience in the background with the industry, but a new employer is going to naturally treat them as a new employee would be treated, and that's hard for these families and these employees that are affected," Dant Chesser said.
However, one silver lining with the Southern Indiana area experiencing low unemployment, many similar companies are looking to hire with some already reaching out to One Southern Indiana, Dant Chesser said.
"The good news is if they're interested in making a job change, this is the time to do that because it is a tight labor market," she said.
Wood said GE Appliances has also reached out to Legacy that the company is hiring at Appliance Park in Louisville and any impacted Legacy employees are welcome to apply.
It is unclear at this time on what effect this rally will have on the decision-making of the parties involved.