Under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, companies with 100 or more employees are required to notify affected workers 60 days before closure or layoff.
Astria Health filed its WARN notice on Jan. 8. The WARN notice states a Jan. 13 closure, which is well under 60 days.
The employer guide for the WARN act states the law applies to an employer under bankruptcy. Since Astria Health continued operating Astria Regional during bankruptcy, it was required to file a WARN notice for the closure.
WARN regulations provide conditions where the notification period could be fewer than 60 days. A “faulting company” can qualify for reduced notice if they show they were actively seeking capital or business at the time the 60-day notice would have been required. A company can also cite “unforeseen business circumstances,” namely a sudden, dramatic and unexpected action or condition outside the employees’ control.
Job fair Jan. 23
As part of the WARN act, a team of local employment agencies will aid Regional employees. WorkSource Yakima will have a health care job fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Valley Mall, 2529 Main St., Union Gap.
The job fair is open to former Astria Regional employees. For more information, contact Michelle Smith at the South Central Workforce Council at 509-574-1950 or by email at email@example.com.
Other help for Astria Regional employees
Several private businesses have stepped up to help affected Astria Regional workers.
A Barber's Craft is offering free barber service to all employees. Call the hospital at 509-469-2544 for an appointment. A Barber's Craft is located at 12 N. Front St. in Yakima.
The Yakima Shipping Shop is offering free printing for all Astria Regional employees. Up to 20 resumes can be printed on special resume paper and there is unlimited printing on standard paper.
Owner Nicholas Kline said he felt compelled to help after seeing Regional employees at his shop shortly after the closure announcement last week.
“Reality starts to sink in when you see those people,” he said.
Employees should have their resume on a USB drive or emailed to themselves.
The shop is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. The shop is inside the Westpark shopping center at 40th and Summitview avenues.
Meanwhile, Compassion Family Medicine, 3810 Kern Road, is offering free medical care for affected employees and their children.
David Anderson, a nurse practitioner at the clinic, spent 15 years in Astria Regional's emergency department.
"When I spoke of the idea of serving you, my friend and mentor Greg Bickel simply said that was why I was here," Anderson wrote in a Facebook post referring to the owner of Compassion Family Medicine. "You are the mission. Let us serve you as you deserve no less."
Workers will need to show a recent pay stub and photo identification and fill out patient information packets. The clinic provides walk-in and family medicine services. The clinic is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Fridays.
Compassion Family Medicine is at 3810 Kern Road in Yakima. For more information, call 509-228-7237.
This story has been updated to include additional information and a quote from David Anderson, a provider at Compassion Family Medicine.