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More than 50 local employers will seek new workers in a job fair for former NECCO employees

REVERE — Nearly a month after the former employees of New England Confectionery Co. (Necco) abruptly lost their jobs, more than 50 employers in and around the city are offering them new ones.

The State Department of Labor and Workforce Development Rapid Response Team and Mayor Brian Arrigo have gathered representatives from each of the companies to meet with the former employees at a job fair for Aug. 22. The fair will be held at the Rumney Marsh Academy, 140 American Legion Highway, from noon to 4 p.m.

More than 230 Necco employees lost their jobs when the plant announced on the morning of July 24 that it would close at day’s end. The employees were instructed to only return to the building to pick up their final paychecks days later.

The shutdown was so sudden, two former employees have filed a class action lawsuit against the company claiming Necco failed to warn employees they would be laid off. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court, said the shutdown was in direct violation of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s website, the act protects workers, their families, and communities by requiring employers with 100 or more employees to provide at least 60 days advance written notice of a plant closing and mass layoff affecting 50 or more employees at a single site of employment.

The complaint was filed by Dexter Main of Lynn and Francesco D’Amelio of Revere.

By the end of the month, plans were in motion for a job fair to help the employees get back on their feet and to help fill vacant jobs in and around the city.

“We got a great response from the business community after Necco was shut down,” said Arrigo.  “We immediately turned our efforts toward helping those who lost their jobs, and as employers started to contact the mayor’s office hoping to connect with the displaced employees, it became apparent that there would be quite a few employers looking to hire workers.”

Arrigo, who joined U.S. Sen. Ed Markey at the Necco plant to greet workers arriving to collect their final paychecks, organized an information session at City Hall on July 30.  Attorney General Maura Healey attended and pledged the support of her office to assist the displaced workers.

Companies in and around the city agreed to attend the job fair in search of prospective employees among the former Necco workers. Job opportunities will range from food production to manufacturing, transportation, health care, airport screeners, bank tellers, customer service, and more.  

At least 50 employers are expected to attend the fair, including Legal Seafoods, Kelly’s Roast Beef, Easy Pie Restaurant in Revere and Braintree, Great Eastern Seafood in East Boston, The Charles Hotel, Nova Biomedical, BJ’s Wholesale Club, the United States Postal Service, and Five Way Foods, which will take the former Bianco’s Sausage location, said Arrigo.

Revere had a 3.7 percent unemployment rate in March, which was just over the 3.5 percent statewide, said Arrigo. The job fair will be restricted to Necco employees from noon to 1:30 p.m., but will be open to everyone else afterward.

“When the state’s Rapid Response Team began to coordinate with us for a full-fledged Job Fair this month aimed at Necco workers, it seemed to make even more sense to open it up to the public,” said Arrigo. “Despite the low unemployment rate in the state, there are plenty of people looking for jobs, or looking to move into better jobs.”

For more information contact Arrigo’s office at 781-286-8111 or Chuck Bennett, Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Rapid Response Team at 617-661-7867 Ext. 246.

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