Fund to aid former Tyler employeesPublished 10:47am Tuesday, January 12, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
This week, news that will, for many, come as a hope for relief.
Hill Phoenix, parent company to the former Tyler Refrigeration announced the set up of a fund to help former employees that were affected by the closing of Tyler Refrigeration in Niles last year, the United Way of Southwest Michigan (UWSM) announced Sunday.
“It was put together by Tyler and Hill Phoenix,” Anna Murphy, president of the southwest Michigan United Way chapter, said Monday.
Hill Phoenix purchased the company, which had been owned by Carrier Corp. last May and chose to cease operations at the Niles location, essentially putting an estimated 500 Niles and Niles area residents out of work.
The closure was described as devastating by employees and city officials who worried about the ramifications that would come with such large amount of local jobs lost.
The fund will be administered through a partnership of United Way of Greater Niles and UWSM with UWSM providing the case management.
“If they’re a former Tyler employee,” Murphy said, those individuals can contact the UWSM. An appointment is required and Murphy said individuals would go through the process one-on-one with a UWSM official.
The official open date for the fund is Jan. 20, it will continue until the monies have been exhausted, Murphy said.
According to the announcement, needs to be considered include utilities, rent, mortgage, food, diapers/formula, gas, eye glasses, tuition/books and non-habit forming prescriptions. If gift cards are distributed, they will not be allowed for alcohol and cigarettes. Cell phone, credit card debt and medical debt will not be funded.
General guidelines for the fund will be that no cash will be distributed and checks and payments will only go to vendors. There will be limitations; based on area of need, for how many times a person can access the fund.
A representative from Hill Phoenix could not be reached at press time, but Murphy said she believed the fund is the result of a combined effort, coming from funds raised through Tyler equipment auction in August of which Hill Phoenix matched funds.
Those interested in finding out more or seeing if they can access the fund, should contact the UWSM at (269) 925-7772 ext. 27.
Murphy said appointments will be made on a first call basis and held at the Niles office on Broadway each Wednesday. Appointments only will be taken.
Murphy also stated in the announcement the case manger will utilize other health and human service resources, if the applicant qualifies.
All former employees are encouraged to seek assistance through the Department of Human Services as well.
Former employees will have to supply documentation for all requests, which could be either a final pay stub from Tyler Refrigeration or an official separation letter to prove that they were an employee; valid picture I.D. and Social Security card. Additional documentation may be required for specific needs.