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Published July 29, 2013, 09:23 AM

Laid-off beef plant workers gather outside plant

Laid-off workers at the Northern Beef Packers plant sought answers July 26 on when they will get their delinquent paychecks, but state Labor Department officials said the plant’s bankruptcy proceedings have halted a process that would have allowed the workers to get at least partial compensation.

By: Associated Press,

ABERDEEN, S.D. — Laid-off workers at the Northern Beef Packers plant sought answers July 26 on when they will get their delinquent paychecks, but state Labor Department officials said the plant’s bankruptcy proceedings have halted a process that would have allowed the workers to get at least partial compensation.

Several dozen people showed up at a Labor Department meeting held to discuss job options for the laid-off workers. But many people interrupted the department’s presentation to ask how the state could help them get paid. Department officials said that because Northern Beef Packers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to reorganize, a court will decide what debt gets paid.

More than 250 workers were laid off July 24, following the layoffs of more than 100 workers three months ago.

Later July 26, more than two dozen workers gathered outside the Brown County Courthouse and the idled plant, but they later dispersed.

The workers decided to go to the courthouse after getting no satisfaction at the Labor Department meeting, said Sophia Weddell, a laid-off plant worker.

“A lot of us are struggling to pay our rent,” Weddell said. “We want information. We want to know when we will get paid. Nobody will tell us.”