AG Kaul: $650,000 SEMCO settlement is win for blue-collar workers

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 10:15 AM CDT
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MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW) - Attorney General Josh Kaul says the former Merrill-based Semling-Menke Company, Inc (SEMCO) has agreed to settle with its more than 130 former employees. The workers will split a settlement of more than $650,000. The company abruptly shut down on Dec. 31, 2019.

“What happened a year and 8 months ago was very tragic. It affected a lot of people here in the Merrill and Lincoln County area. But here, we’re here to celebrate a win for the blue-collar workers here in the state of Wisconsin,” said Luke Kramer, North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters (NCSRCC) Business Representative.

While the news was met with celebration, many believed it was rightfully owed.

“The employees didn’t get what they deserved, they got what they were owed,” said Kramer.

Kaul said checks, typically around thousands of dollars went out to employees last week. He said the payments are from SEMCO, not taxpayers.

“Getting this kind of result where the full amount the DWD believes is owed is paid, that’s an exceptional result,” said Kaul.

During the 90 days following when the checks were mailed, SEMCO is required to attempt to re-deliver any returned check. At the end of the 90 days, Semco will give an accounting of completed payments to DWD.

In February, Kaul and Department of Workforce Development Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek said they’d be suing SEMCO for failing to provide proper notice to employees that the company would close. Employees said they received a letter on Dec. 30, 2019 notifying them the window and door company would cease operations the next day.

Wisconsin statute states employees must be given 60 days’ notice.

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