WINTHROP (AP) – Former employees of the defunct Carleton Woolen Mills will receive $4,000 to $4,300 each on average as part of a settlement with the mill’s former owner, an attorney representing the workers said Wednesday.

Jonathan Beal said the money comes from a $2 million settlement for two cases filed against Allied Textile Companies, the British corporation that bought Carleton in 1994.

About $1.1 million will go to the 350 members of Carleton’s Union Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union Local-1235.

The money will cover pay that employees were entitled to under the Federal Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification Act, which requires employers to give 60 days notice before plant closure or mass layoffs, Beal said.

Nonunion employees will receive about $286,000 total, and $240,000 will go toward unpaid medical benefits for union and nonunion employees, he said. Remaining money will cover administrative and attorneys’ costs.

Carleton’s former employees have been fighting for various claims since Carleton ceased operations in 2000 and filed for bankruptcy.

Two lawsuits seeking severance pay are still pending in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

“It’s been 31/2 years and it’s very unfortunate that employers don’t comply with these laws when they’re supposed to, when the money could have been a very helpful cushion,” Beal said. “But I guess better late than never.”

Beal said the settlement covers vacation, perfect attendance and claims other than severance pay. It also calls for former employees to be reimbursed for up to two-thirds of the costs of unpaid medical bills.

Carleton’s bankruptcy estate trustee P.J. Perrino and his staff members have mailed W-4 tax forms to each recipient. Sue Ashcroft-Mills, a bankruptcy paralegal for Perrino’s office, said the last of the forms were mailed last week.

“I’ve received probably 100 back already,” Ashcroft-Mills said. “There are hundreds of employees and there are going to be thousands of checks.”

At its peak, Carleton Woolen Mills had more than 500 employees. Allied purchased the company in 1994, and closed Carleton’s Gardiner site in 1998 and the Winthrop locations in December 1999.

AP-ES-07-24-03 1103EDT



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