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 November 26, 2014 08:35 GMT
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The list of economic reports expected this morning is longer than usual with everything shutdown for Thanksgiving tomorrow.
The Commerce Department releases October figures on durable goods orders, personal income and spending as well as new home sales. The National Association of Realtors will release its pending home sales index for October, while Freddie Mac issues its weekly report on mortgage rates.
The Labor Department's weekly look at jobless claims also comes a day early.
From the corporate world, Deere & Co. reports its quarterly financial results before the market opens.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration will propose tightening the amount of a smog-forming pollutant in the air.
People familiar with the proposal tell the Associated Press that the EPA will recommend lowering the limit for ground-level ozone to 65 to 70 parts per billion, down from a 75 parts per billion standard set in the 2008.
The proposal will be announced today to meet a court-ordered Dec. 1 deadline.
The stricter standard makes good a campaign promise Obama made during his first run for the White House: to reverse President George W. Bush's decision to set a limit weaker than scientists advised.
In 2011, facing re-election, Obama scrapped an EPA plan to tighten the standard after Republicans and industries said it would hamper the economy.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Venerable tech giant Hewlett-Packard has been struggling for three years to turn its business around. Its latest earnings show it still has more work ahead.
While CEO Meg Whitman has decided to split the company in two, she has said it will take a year to disengage the sluggish printer-and-PC division from faster-growing units that sell commercial tech hardware, software and services. Meanwhile, HP reported Tuesday that its sales fell 2 percent in the most recent three-month period, marking its 12th revenue decline in the last 13 quarters.
And there was little comfort in a new forecast issued Tuesday by market research firm IDC. It predicts the global PC market will shrink 2.7 percent this year, instead of the 3.7 percent drop forecast earlier.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Twitter is expanding its reach into commerce with a new tool called "Offers."
Advertisers can post promotions and discounts in users' Twitter feeds, whether or not Twitter users follow those merchants.
To redeem an offer, customers enter their credit or debit card information. They can use the same card to redeem the promotion in a store. It only works in the U.S. but may be available in other countries in the future.
San Francisco-based Twitter says it will encrypt and store the credit card information but users can remove it any time
The short messaging service has slowly been branching out into shopping. It launched a "Buy" button in September that lets users make purchases or donate money to charities without leaving Twitter.
THANKSGIVING AT WORK
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A lawmaker in Ohio wants retailers in the state to pay triple wages for employees who work on Thanksgiving -- an effort that comes as Macy's is allowing its workers to choose whether to work that day.
Both are attempts to counter frustration among workers and their families over holiday store hours that have expanded into the holiday.
State Rep. Mike Foley says his bill would allow employees to bow out of the holiday shift without sanctions. It comes after a federal complaint said Wal-Mart illegally fired workers protesting holiday working conditions last year.
Macy's, Wal-Mart and two dozen other major retailers open on Thanksgiving Day say consumers demand it. A spokesman says working the holiday is optional for Macy's employees this year. Those who work will be paid time-and-a-half.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- HSBC will pay $12.5 million to settle regulators' charges that its private-banking business based in Switzerland violated U.S. securities laws.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday that the private-banking unit failed to register with the SEC before providing brokerage services and investment advice to U.S. clients. The SEC says HSBC Private Bank began doing so more than 10 years ago and collected fees totaling about $5.7 million.
A representative for HSBC, Europe's largest bank by market value, could not be reached for comment.
According to the SEC, HSBC Private Bank decided to exit the U.S. cross-border business in 2010.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The egg is on a roll. It has never been more popular as a fast-food restaurant breakfast staple and its appeal has broadened far beyond the day's first meal.
High demand has kept egg prices at record levels, even as production soars.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Iowa, the nation's leading egg supplier, produced a record 1.4 billion eggs in October, up 4 percent from a year ago. Egg prices have broken records for the past 10 days, with the Midwest price reaching $2.18 a dozen on Monday.
Restaurants have broadened their menu offerings including eggs, with quick-service restaurants adding more egg-white sandwiches and eggs showing up as toppings on pizza and hamburgers.
People also use more eggs around the holidays as families cook and bake at home.
COAL LEASE LAWSUIT
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- Conservation groups are suing the government to force federal officials to undertake the first broad environmental review of the government's coal-leasing program in decades.
Friends of the Earth and the Western Organization of Resource Councils filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
It's being paid for by the philanthropic foundation of Microsoft founder Paul Allen.
Supporters of the lawsuit said there hasn't been a comprehensive review of the government's coal program since 1979. That's before climate-changing gases produced by burning coal emerged as a significant public concern.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has been reviewing its coal-leasing program since a government investigation last year revealed officials accepted below-market bids in some coal sales.
BLM spokesman Jeff Krauss declined to comment on Tuesday's lawsuit.
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