Swift-Galey Employees Denied Federal Assistance

When workers at the Swift-Galey denim plant found out they'd be losing their jobs, many of them were also told they qualified for federal funding to help find new careers.  The Federal Trade Act provides benefits to employees losing their jobs to overseas workers.

Tony Kurian, who worked with Swift for seven years, saw this as an opportunity. He enrolled in classes at Columbus Technical College.

"Well, I'm trying to go in for business management. I've already pre-paid for the quarter, because Swift told me that they'd help out. So I went ahead and got a jump start on it," Kurian said. "Well, I found out today it was denied, so I have to go back to work in seven weeks, and that really didn't give me much training for a new job."

Swift-Galey has been notified that the Department of Labor denied its petition for federal assistance, which means workers like Kurian may be on their own.

While Swift-Galey officials declined to comment on camera, they did tell News Leader Nine in a phone interview that they do plan to appeal.  Larry Spell, Vice President of Human Resources, says that the company is disappointed by the decision and they'll fight to have it overturned.

Until then, Tony Kurian and his former co-workers are left without many options.

"Now a lot of them are depressed, sitting at home, wondering what they're going to do next," Kurian said. "They don't really have an answer."

Nearly 500 employees lost their jobs when Swift-Galey closed its doors. It's unclear how many workers would have been eligible for federal assistance.

Swift Galey executives say they've already put the appeal process into motion. There's no word on how long it could take.