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Letter to Elaine Chao, Secretary of Labor, Re: Closing of Canterbury Press in Rome

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


Letter to Elaine Chao, Secretary of Labor, Re: Closing of Canterbury Press in Rome

Senator Clinton Calls for Federal Investigation Into Closing of Canterbury Press in Rome

Employees Lost Jobs and Savings, Denied Benefits by Bush Administration

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today called for a thorough investigation into the abrupt closing of Canterbury Press in Rome and the disappearance of $3.5 million in retirement funds from the company's Employee Stock Option Program. In a letter to Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, Senator Clinton expressed serious concern about the circumstances surrounding the closure of Canterbury Press and urged the Labor Department to investigate.

"The former employees of Canterbury Press lost their jobs without notice. They saw their retirement savings disappear without their permission. And they were denied federal benefits without any real explanation," Senator Clinton said. "A full and thorough federal investigation is needed into this matter. These employees deserve answers."

The text of Senator Clinton's letter follows.

September 12, 2008

The Honorable Elaine L. Chao
U.S. Secretary of Labor
United States Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20210

Dear Madam Secretary:

I am writing in regards to the sudden closing of Canterbury Press of Rome, New York, and in particular, the disappearance of $3.5 million from the company's retirement account and the denial of adjustment assistance benefits to the company's workers.

On July 15, 2008, Canterbury Press closed its doors and terminated all of its employees, with little to no notice. I have been informed that soon thereafter, the terminated employees discovered that an Employee Stock Option Program (ESOP) in the amount of $3.5 million had disappeared. As a result, the employees are left with none of the retirement benefits that they had contributed to the ESOP and to which they were entitled. The New York State Attorney General's office has begun an investigation into the disappearance of the account, but the matter falls more squarely within the jurisdiction of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). I ask that you appoint officials to begin an investigation into the closing of the company and the loss of the $3.5 million in retirement benefits.

Shortly after the termination, Canterbury Press submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration (ETA) for benefits under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA) programs. The agency has not provided a specific explanation for the denial of the benefits, and I am told that the benefits were denied after an unusually brief investigation. I am also told that the Canterbury Press officials have disappeared and are unreachable, and so the former employees themselves have appealed the ruling through their union representatives. The former employees note that a printing press in Vermont was denied benefits under similar circumstances. I fully support their appeal, and I urge you to give it every consideration.

I respectfully request that you attend to this case as quickly as possible, and I stand ready to help however I can.

Sincerely,

Hillary Rodham Clinton


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