Wacker Plant Hit With Lawsuit
At least 10 people, who completed a year-and-half-long program at the Wacker Institute, are now suing the Wacker-Chemie company. They claim they were promised a job, but were never able to start work or get a paycheck. They say they were supposed to start this past April.
"It wasn't just that I was let down, but I also let down my family," says graduate James Loemker.
Loemker has a wife and kids. He's like many who graduated from the Wacker Institute.
"A lot of us took out loans, some of us were sleeping in our cars," says Loemker.
They were hoping to work as chemical operators at the Wacker plant in Charleston, Tennessee making polysilicon.
The employee offer letter says if they finished the program, the students would be given a job at the plant - but that never happened.
"When it came time to hold up their end, they told us it'll be years basically don't call us, we'll call you," says Loemker.
Court records we obtained Thursday say the students were promised an annual salary of about $50,000 and a signing bonus of $3,000.
"I bought a house in Cleveland. I moved from East Ridge, I took out loans, I ended my career that I had for 7 years with another local employer," says Michael Bridges.
Wacker released a statement Thursday saying, "Throughout our 100-year history, Wacker has demonstrated a strong commitment to our people, to the environment, and to society. Our products, as well as our internal policies and procedures, reflect this fundamental commitment. We want to assure the community that Wacker remains committed to our investment in Bradley County, and our employment goals to support economic growth in the region through construction and operation of our facility. Wacker has always been a flexible, market oriented company, and in this instance, we had to adjust our construction timeline and our growth strategy due to the prevailing global economic and market conditions facing the polysilicon industry. Although we were able to preserve the jobs of our employees, we were unable to offer employment to the students at the present time. Nonetheless, we remain confident that the skills and education these students gained during their advanced technical training at Chattanooga State Community College will be of future value and can benefit them greatly, whether they ultimately join the Wacker Team, or whether their careers take them elsewhere. “
Wacker says the plant in Charleston opens in 2015. Wacker wouldn't comment when we asked if there are classes happening right now at the Wacker Institute. But, a Chattanooga state employee told us there is still chemical engineering classes offered at the college.
By Jerry Askin
More Business News
Last Update on August 28, 2015 08:52 GMT
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
WASHINGTON (AP) -- As the trading week winds down, stock investors won't be getting much more economic news from the government.
There is, however, one report today that could move the markets a bit. The Commerce Department will release its report on personal income and spending for July.
BEIJING (AP) -- An American business group has urged to China to allow more access to its insurance and other service industries, saying foreign skills could help develop its volatile stock markets and cope with disasters like the recent chemical explosion in Tianjin.
The American Chamber of Commerce in China said Friday allowing more foreign competitors into banking, logistics and other markets would support the communist leadership's plans to nurture service industries and reduce reliance on trade and investment to drive economic growth.
The group's deputy chairman, Lester Ross, pointed to China's stock market plunge and the Aug. 12 explosion in Tianjin that killed at least 145 people, and said bringing in more global expertise could help to develop financial markets and reduce the impact of disasters.
TOKYO (AP) -- Japan reports that its inflation rate fell slightly in July while household spending also edged lower, though incomes were boosted by higher bonus payments.
The government reported Friday that the inflation rate in July was 0.2 percent, compared with 0.4 percent in June. Core inflation excluding volatile food prices was flat. Price increases moderated with the fall in oil prices.
Household spending fell 0.2 percent in real terms on an annual basis, though incomes rose 5.4 percent in real terms, likely thanks to semi-annual bonus payments.
Japan's economy contracted 1.6 percent in April-June, but many economists are forecasting a renewed expansion in the current quarter. So far, the consumer spending that accounts for most of Japan's growth has failed to pick up much despite modest increases in some workers' wages.
FACEBOOK-ONE BILLION A DAY
NEW YORK (AP) -- For the first time, a billion people used Facebook in a single day on Monday.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg marked the occasion with a post on his Facebook page, saying that one out of seven people on Earth logged in to the social network to connect with their friends and family.
The 1 billion figure is different from the daily user numbers Facebook discloses each quarter when it reports its financial results. Those are the average number of daily users, counted over a 30-day period. Facebook had 968 million daily active users in June.
Overall, Facebook has nearly 1.5 billion users who log in at least once a month. It hit the 1 billion user milestone in October 2012. Most people on Facebook live outside the U.S. and Canada.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Amgen Inc. has won approval for the second medicine in a new class of biotech drugs that reduce artery-clogging cholesterol more than older statin drugs that have been used for decades.
The drug Repatha could eventually help millions of Americans who face increased risks of heart disease because they cannot control their cholesterol with existing drugs. But concerns about the injectable medication's price tag and long-term benefits will likely limit its use in the near term.
The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it approved the drug for two groups of patients. First, for patients with extremely high levels of bad cholesterol due to an inherited disorder. Second, for patients with a history of heart attack and stroke who are not able to control their cholesterol levels with older drugs.
CONTACT LENS LAWSUIT
DENVER (AP) -- Contact lens makers struggled Thursday to defend their pricing policies in a federal appeals case that could have wide-ranging effects on the $4 billion industry.
At issue is a Utah law banning minimum prices for contact lenses. The nation's largest contact lens companies asked the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver Thursday to strike down the measure. They say it was crafted just to help a homegrown discounter, 1 800 Contacts.
But a three-judge panel grilled the contact lens lawyers about why they don't simply stop doing business in Utah if they insist on price minimums.
A lawyer for Utah accused the contact lens makers of nationwide price-fixing and said that lens prices would drop as much as 35 percent nationally if the manufacturers dropped price minimums.
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