FMC to pay $695,000 to settle work lawsuit

By Stephen Betts | Feb 14, 2020
Photo by: Stephen Betts The former FMC Corp., now Dupont  Nutrition U.S.A., Inc., plant on Rockland's waterfront.

Rockland — FMC Corp. agreed to pay $695,000 to a group of former workers who claim the company stole wages from them when it sold the business during a multi-billion-dollar deal back in 2017.

The agreement must still be approved by a federal judge.

Terms of the agreement were filed Feb. 14 in U.S. District Court in Portland.

The lawsuit was initially filed March 13, 2019, in Knox County Superior Court against FMC Corp.The lawsuit was moved June 26 to the federal court.

FMC sold the carrageenan plant on the Rockland waterfront in 2017 to DowDuPont. The property is currently listed under Dupont Nutrition U.S.A., Inc.

Workers claim they did not receive their accrued vacation time for 2017 when the sale occurred. The lawsuit points out that FMC had a policy to pay out accrued vacation time when employment with FMC ended for workers.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five longtime workers -- Todd Conant of Rockport, who worked for FMC since 1991; Thomas Ames of Owls Head, who worked for FMC since 1991; Gregory Gould of Rockland, who worked there since 1994; Rodney Mason, who worked for FMC since 1990; and Karen Migliore, who worked for the company since 2000.

The five, however, sought to have the case be a class action lawsuit with any settlement going to all workers who qualified. The settlement estimates 107 people will qualify for a share of the $695,000.

Workers with 20 or more years of longevity with FMC were entitled to five weeks of vacation annually.

Attorneys' fees, court costs, and any other expenses will be paid out of the settlement amount.

The most any individual worker will receive is slightly more than $7,000.

The plant produces carrageenan, a food additive that is used for thickening, gelling and stabilizing products such as ice cream, salad dressing, and toothpaste.

The manufacturing plant has been at Crockett's Point in Rockland since 1936, when Algin Corp. started the business of converting seaweed to carrageenan. FMC purchased the company in 1977 and operated it until the 2017 sale.

FMC denies any wrongdoing, or legal liability "but has concluded further litigation would be protracted, expensive, and would divert management and employee time and attention; that there are uncertainties and risks inherent in the Action; and that it is appropriate to fully and finally settle."

The workers are represented by attorneys Carol Garvan, David Webbert, Max Brooks, and Valerie Wicks, all of Augusta.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Feb 16, 2020 12:34

It is about time.

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