Layoffs At A Luzerne County Business

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HANOVER TOWNSHIP-- A long-time family owned business has laid off practically all if its workers in Luzerne County.

The owner tells us, Penn Refrigeration just outside of Wilkes-Barre cut back about 40 employees Friday.

It was business as usual at Penn Refrigeration in Luzerne County.

But by the end of the day, dozens of workers were out of a job.

"It's tough, it's tough for a lot of people, you know people who have families, it's tough," says Penn Refrigeration worker, Butch Modzelewski.

After more than 60 years of business, workers tell Newswatch 16 the company is closing its doors for good.

But the owner says Penn Refrigeration is not closing, just cutting back, and blames the layoffs on "extremely bad economic conditions."

A man who called Talkback 16 and identified himself as a Penn Refrigeration employee says the layoffs couldn't have come at a worst time.

"I got a good Christmas present, they laid the whole plant off, leaving the plant and layoff staff by the end of the year, he don't have to pay their vacation time or their sick time that were owed. So merry Christmas to us, Penn Refrigeration!"

Some business owners who benefited from those jobs say they'll take a hit, as well.

Like the Lee Park Grill just a few blocks away. Owner Jan Phillips tells us, the layoffs will have a huge impact. She says workers go there two or three times a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

"If they don't have income coming in, they're not going to go out and spend it, so every time you hear someone's going out of business, it's fewer people that come in the door," says Jan Phillips, owner of Lee Park Grill.

No word if or when any of those Penn Refrigeration employees will be called back to work.