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Workers, FMC reach settlement on lawsuit alleging wage theft

By Stephen Betts | Nov 19, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts The former FMC Corp., now Dupont  Nutrition U.S.A., Inc., plant on Rockland's waterfront.

Rockland — A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed by a group of former FMC Corp. workers who claim the company stole wages from them when it sold the business during a multi-billion-dollar deal back in 2017.

Details of the settlement have not been released.

The settlement was reached Friday, Nov. 15 during a settlement conference before Magistrate Judge John Nivison, according to the court records. The court is expected to decide after Jan. 31 whether to approve the settlement.

"We have an agreement in principle, however, under the Rules, the Court will carefully review and approve or disapprove any resolution proposed by the parties in this case," a joint statement issued by attorney Carol Garvan of Augusta stated.Garvan is an attorney for the employees.

The lawsuit was initially filed March 13 in Knox County Superior Court against FMC Corp.The lawsuit was moved June 26 to the U.S. District Court in Portland.

The workers also were seeking class action status to represent all former workers who were on the job when the sale occurred.

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

The lawsuit claims that workers 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 names five longtime workers as plaintiffs -- Todd Conant of Rockport, who had worked for FMC since 1991; Thomas Ames of Owls Head, who had worked for FMC since 1991; Gregory Gould of Rockland, who had worked there since 1994; Rodney Mason, who had worked for FMC since 1990; and Karen Migliore, who had worked for the company since 2000.

But the lawsuit also sought to have the lawsuit certified for class action status, meaning that the case would apply to all the former FMC workers -- estimated at more than 100.

The action by FMC amounts to wage theft, according to the lawsuit, and the workers seek double the amount owed, as well as attorney's fees and court costs.

The total amount of money being sought is not listed in the lawsuit. But workers with 20 or more years of longevity with FMC received five weeks of vacation annually.

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 November 2017 sale.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Nov 20, 2019 12:23

These big corporations have no sense of fairness. It's all about the bottom line, but let's not cut the CEO out of any bonuses. They give with one hand and take away with the other hand. It's hard to understand why millions of dollars are not enough for these people, but a few thousand is enough for the people making the product or serving their customers

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