Topeka, Kansas


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Matthew Bergmann
Matthew Bergmann
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Payless Employees To Get Severance Before Company Leaves Town

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Coming face to face with the idea of being unemployed has been difficult for many employees at the Payless ShoeSource distribution center in Topeka, Kansas. However, some workers may sleep a little easier knowing that the company will provide severance packages to workers when it leaves in 2008.

Representatives of Payless and Teamsters Local 696 reached a comprimise late last week that affects about 400 members of the union who work at the distribution center. The agreement provides that Payless will give employees a week’s pay for every year they have worked for the company, plus an additional month of health insurance after the plant closes. It was also stipulated that if an employee finds another job, the severance package could be retained, as long as Payless was given two-weeks notice of the resignation.

Other provisions of the agreement state that union workers will get five percent of their quarterly W2 earnings per quarter as long as they meet certain performance and safety standards. That bonus could be recieved for up to three quarters and would add up roughly to $2,500. Employees will also be able to have vacation and perfect attendance days from 2007 transfered over to 2008. The workers will be able to take these earned days off before they leave or be compensated for them at the end.

On Feb. 9, 2007, Payless ShoeSource told employees of its plans to close the Topeka plant. It’s estimated that 450 to 550 people will lose their jobs.