The state is sending a "rapid response team" to Toluca to assist about 100 employees of the Toluca Garment Co., which unexpectedly closed its doors Friday after more than 80 years in business. The owner of the company also claims employees "walked out" of the factory.
A rapid response team will be deployed to Toluca this week to provide assistance to about 100 workers who lost their jobs Friday in the sudden shuttering of the Toluca Garment Co.
The more than 80-year-old clothing manufacturer ceased operations after owner Michael Magliano told employees that he could not guarantee they would even be paid for their last two weeks of work. But in an open letter, Magliano also claimed the employees chose to leave the factory.
Magliano, who has not returned repeated calls, apparently was at the plant Monday afternoon, though a man who came to the door said Magliano did not wish to comment.
A printed notice posted on the door and dated Saturday, however, said that Toluca Garment and a related business in the same location, Magliano Pant Co., had been "operating at a loss for some time."
According to the notice, the firm had been meeting financial obligations through a combination of a line of credit from Alpha Community Bank and life insurance proceeds from a policy on Louis Magliano, the owner’s father, who died in June 2006.
The insurance money was depleted during the summer, and "the line of credit is beyond maturity and in default," the notice stated. "If additional capital cannot be obtained, the closure of the facility will be permanent and all positions will be affected."
The notice also claimed employees "walked out" Friday while capital was still being sought. But union president Sue Henry said Magliano told them they could leave after revealing that they might not be paid.
"We knew we were just making money for him at that point," she said.
The employees, who are members of local 2573 of the Unite Here union, had not yet been told Monday whether they would be paid or learned anything else about the status of the plant, Henry added.
"All we know is that we’re still out of a job," she said.
The former employees could learn more about how to proceed Wednesday, when the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will send a "rapid response team" to the area.
DCEO representative Tony Rolando said began organizing the effort shortly after learning of the abrupt closing Friday night.
Besides DCEO, the team will include representatives from the Illinois Department of Economic Security, the Peoria-based Workforce Network, and labor unions, said Rolando. They’ll offer information on topics ranging from unemployment benefits to worker re-training programs in a session scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Wednesday in a city park.
"I wanted to make sure these people get all the services they could," said Rolando, who is a senior account manager with DCEO’s Opportunity Returns program. "We’ll be there to provide all the help we possibly can that day."