Lack of severance for New Penn part-time employees leaves some frustrated

3 min read1,088 views and 225 shares Posted August 15, 2019

Part-time employees of a Lebanon-based trucking company allege their employer is shortchanging several dedicated workers.

New Penn Motor Express announced in July it was consolidating its administrative headquarters with parent company YRC Worldwide Field Resource Center in Overland Park, Kansas. As part of the move, the company is closing its office at 625 S. 5th Ave. and laying off 80 to 90 employees.

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Read more: New Penn moving administrative jobs out of Lebanon headquarters

On the day of the announcement, the company presented a packet of information to employees detailing the benefits they will receive, including severance pay, upon termination in September.

Now, part-time employees are saying the company president has pulled back on that benefit.

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“Every employee was handed a letter personally addressed to them” when the closure was announced July 8, Pam Tricamo — who worked about 18 months as a payroll clerk in New Penn’s finance department — said in an interview Aug. 13. The letter explained benefits including paid time off and health insurance options, she said.

“Out of the blue, someone decided to ask, because they felt they were often overlooked as part-time employees, for clarification,” Tricamo said. “The president of the company said that no part-timer was going to get severance.”

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About eight of the affected workers are part-timers, she said. Some full-time workers have been offered new jobs at terminals in Camp Hill and Reading, she said.

An email from company president Howard Moshier, provided by Tricamo, confirms that part-time workers will not receive any severance pay.

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The packet of information, which listed severance among the benefits due departing workers, was “directed at full-time employees,” Moshier said in the email.

However, the packet — again, provided to a reporter by Tricamo — does not make that distinction. The letter addressed to Tricamo says on page 2 that the severance plan “provides for salary/wage continuation based on length of service.” Tricamo, who worked less than two years for the company, should be eligible for two weeks’ severance pay, according to the letter. Employees with longer service records could be eligible for as much as 12 weeks’ pay.

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Nothing in the packet differentiates between full- and part-time workers.

According to the US Department of Labor, severance pay is often granted to employees upon termination of employment. It is usually based on length of employment for which an employee is eligible upon termination. There is no requirement in the Fair Labor Standards Act for severance pay.

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Contacted Aug. 13, YRC spokesman Mike Kelley said the company has no comment.

Belinda Carr, who worked at New Penn for 19 years — first in the auditing department, currently as a customer service representative — said she, too, is upset about the issue.

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“We all had our names on the letters,” she said on Aug. 14. “I wasn’t there the day they told us, but the next day they handed me a paper with my name on it, and it had all the stuff on that everyone else was getting. It said we were getting severance.”

Now, Carr said, Moshier is saying employees must work 30 hours or more per week to receive the benefit.

“It just seems like they do what they want,” she said.

Tricamo said she quit her job after she and other part-time workers consulted an attorney and lost hope of recouping their severance.

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“He basically said the company could basically do whatever they wanted as long as no signed contracts were in place, because we weren’t union employees,” she said. “I decided there was no reason to stay around because being at a company that’s closing down … is not a pleasant experience.”

But she’s still angry about Moshier’s decision.

“Can this company be trusted with the other information regarding payments to any of the employees?” she asked in a statement issued to local media. “Or will they just close shop on September 9, skip town, and forget about the employees who spent 10, 20, or 30 years working hard to keep the company running?”

In an interview, Tricamo said it’s “not a big deal” to her since she didn’t work there very long.

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But it matters more to other part-timers, some of whom worked for the company more than 20 years, she said.

“If you were a full-time employee working there for one month, you’ll receive a two-week severance,” she said. “If you were a part-time employee who worked there for 25 years, you’ll get nothing. … I get frustrated when big companies do stuff like this.

“But there’s not really anything we can do. That’s the end of it for us.”

“It’s not really about the money,” Carr added. “It’s the fact that nobody cares about us.”

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She said Moshier didn’t respond to several emails on the issue.

“I guess it’s a lost cause,” Carr said.

New Penn was founded in Lebanon by Cloyd F. Erdley and Henry R. Arnold in 1931. According to the company website, New Penn runs 24 service centers, employs more than 1,600 people and has a fleet of about 750 trucks and more than 1,500 trailers.

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