HAMILTON, ON- Hamilton, Ontario-based garbage truck manufacturer Universal Handling Equipment has filed for bankruptcy earlier this month.
According to reports, the company employed 76 unionized workers and additional office staff, many of whom have been with the company for as many as 30 to 40 years.
Frank Arcuri, a staff representative at United Steelworkers, told the Hamilton Spectator that the union believes Universal Handling Equipment is seeking receivership; a payment arrangement with their creditors to compromise their debts for a percentage of their value; not restructuring.
A court hearing for the bankruptcy application is set for Dec. 16 and a meeting with creditors for Dec. 23.
Frank Giuliano, president of the USW local that represents the plant and a welder/fitter with 10 years at Universal Handling commented: “The employees have done a lot to keep the company going. In 2006, we took a four-year pay freeze and had our benefits cut.”
Giuliano said orders in 2014 were slow and some works agreed to have their hours cut to four days a week.
Universal Handling Equipment has facilities in Hamilton, ON, Owosso, MI, and Red Deer, AB, and manufactures garbage truck bodies, hoists, lifts, trailers and waste bins.
The company has paid all outstanding wages, vacation pay and union dues, according to reports, but has not paid severance or termination pay.