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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 October 01, 2014 07:31 GMT
NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of companies that are studying potential vaccines for Ebola have been climbing in aftermarket trading after federal officials announced that the first case of the disease has been diagnosed in the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a patient being treated at a hospital in Dallas tested positive for the disease.
Ebola is believed to have sickened more than 6,500 people in West Africa, and more than 3,000 people have died. Symptoms can start as much as 21 days after exposure, and the disease isn't contagious until symptoms begin. It takes close contact with bodily fluids to spread the disease.
The World Health Organization has worked to speed up the use of some experimental vaccines and companies are ramping up testing.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama will deliver an economic address this week seeking to promote the recovery as the campaign season heads into its final weeks before midterm congressional elections.
Obama plans to deliver a speech tomorrow at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois, drawing attention to economic advances since he took office. The White House says he will also press for additional steps that the government can undertake to create jobs and improve wages.
The speech comes amid polls that still show the economy is the top issue with voters and that a majority of voters disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy. The speech marks a shift from Obama's recent attention to international crises, particularly the start of a new bombing campaign against Islamic extremists.
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) -- A Delaware bankruptcy judge will hold a hearing tomorrow on a request by Trump Entertainment Resorts to be relieved of its pension obligations under a collective bargaining agreement with workers at the Taj Mahal casino.
The judge had previously scheduled a mid-October hearing on Trump's request for permission to terminate the labor agreement as part of an effort to reorganize and avoid closing the casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
But company attorneys have been unable to persuade the union to agree to replace the pension plan with a 401(k) plan. They said yesterday that they need a quick decision on the pension liability because it could torpedo efforts to reorganize.
Union attorneys argue that the pension question can't be separated from the larger issue of the collective bargaining agreement.
PLASTIC BAG BAN-THINGS TO KNOW
SACRAMENTO (AP) -- The American Progressive Bag Alliance, a coalition of plastic bag manufacturers, says it will seek a voter referendum to overturn California's law banning single-use shopping bags, signaling the fight between environmentalists and manufacturers is not over. California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the nation's first statewide ban on the bags yesterday, following the lead of more than 100 California cities and counties.
The group has three months to gather more than 500,000 valid signatures, the number needed to place a referendum on the November 2016 ballot. The group says it will push to make sure the law does not take effect until voters have a say.
LEGALIZING POT-COLORADO COMPETITION
DENVER (AP) -- Colorado's new marijuana industry is in for a brand new element today -- competition.
The state gave medical marijuana dispensaries and growers a nine-month exclusive on the new recreational pot business, fearing an unmanageable explosion of new businesses.
The grandfathering period expires today, meaning pot shops and growers who weren't in business before voters approved recreational pot in 2012 are just now able to enter the market.
"There's going to a price war coming. It's inevitable," predicted Toni Fox, a marijuana grower and owner of a Denver pot shop. Fox has received a license for a second shop opening today in Salida (suh-LY'-duh).
Colorado is issuing licenses for 46 more pot shops, in addition to about 200 already in place. Colorado is also licensing 37 more growing facilities and 13 new product manufacturers who make marijuana-infused products.
The expansion means pot prices for consumers could soon drop. Recreational marijuana in Colorado currently wholesales for about $1,800 to $2,500 a pound, depending on quality. The addition of new growers starting today could push the price below $1,000 a pound once those plants mature.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Hollywood's carefully controlled system of movie rollouts is officially under siege.
Windowing -- the practice of opening a movie first in theaters and then in other stages of home video, streaming and television release -- has been under increasing pressure as smaller screens fight against the prominence of the theatrical big screen. Now, Netflix has fired the most notable missive across the bow of windowing, announcing plans to release a sequel to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" on the day it hits Imax theaters next August.
The film, produced by the Weinstein Co., isn't a studio production, so it's in many ways only marginally more significant than the plethora of independent films regularly released on video-on-demand. But the announcement constitutes the biggest move yet by a major digital outlet to blow up Hollywood's traditional release pattern.
"This is a very unique opportunity for somebody from the outside coming in to shake up what appears to be an increasingly antiquated release strategy," says Rich Greenfield, a media analyst for BTIG Research. "They had to get into the movie business to reduce windowing, and I think this is an important Step 1 for Netflix."
Exhibitors, in tandem with the major studios, have long sought to guard the theatrical window. Yesterday two of the country's largest theater chains, Regal Cinemas and Cinemark, which both have some Imax theaters, promptly refused to carry the film.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The head of the Federal Communications Commission says the agency will consider a petition to ban the Washington Redskins nickname from the public airwaves.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said yesterday that the commission "will be dealing with that issue on the merits, and we'll be responding accordingly."
A law professor has challenged the use of the name on broadcast television, saying it violates FCC rules against indecent content. Native American and other groups have demanded the name be changed, calling it a racial slur.
Wheeler did not offer a timetable for a ruling on the matter. He has previously said he finds the name "offensive and derogatory," but that he hoped Redskins owner Dan Snyder would change it without any formal action.
Snyder has vowed never to change the name.
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