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Mohawk Fine Papers shutdown leaves nearly 100 jobless

SAYBROOK, Ohio (From news reports) -- Nearly 100 workers lost their jobs at Mohawk Fine Papers, Inc., when the company announced an immediate shutdown during a meeting with employees on Tuesday afternoon.

"We are in the process of the final phases of acquisition with Fedrigoni," said Mohawk Chief Revenue Officer Melissa Stevens. "Unfortunately, we did have employee meetings and the WARN Act letter was sent out."

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act helps to ensure advance notice in cases of qualified plant closings and mass layoffs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

When employers can show that layoffs or worksite closings occur due to faltering companies or unforeseen business circumstances, they are exempt from requiring that 60-day notice.

Fedrigoni is a large paper manufacturer based in Italy. The company was founded by Giuseppe Fedrigoni and is one of the leading paper companies in Europe.

Stevens said 93 employees at the Saybrook Township plant were notified that their jobs have been eliminated.

"We worked a full eight-hour shift with no idea this was going to happen today," said employee Patty Ketola. "It was a kick to the gut."

Ketola had worked for Mohawk for 27 years.

She said she was told she can choose to receive a one-time lump sum or installments over a 60-day period.

Employees had been on a shared work program with Ohio Unemployment since last year, according to Ketola. She said that things had been slow at the company.

"We would be off one or two days and would get unemployment for those so we wouldn't go days without any money," Ketola said.

News of the shutdown spread quickly throughout Ashtabula County.

"I was devastated when I heard the news," said Robert Brobst, chair of the Saybrook Township Trustees. "It hurts the township in many ways. Any time anyone loses their job in that way it's not good. We fought long and hard to get that business here."

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