Before: William C. Canby, Jr., Thomas G. Nelson, and Andrew J. Kleinfeld, Circuit Judges.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kleinfeld, Circuit Judge
Appeal from the United States District Court, for the District of Oregon Thomas M. Coffin, Magistrate Judge, Presiding
Argued and Submitted September 11, 1997--Portland, Oregon
Opinion by Andrew J. Kleinfeld
The only significant issue in this case is whether employees deprived of 60 days notice of a plant closing are entitled to get paid for each of the 60 days, or for what would have been work days during the 60 days. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, 29 U.S.C. S 2101 et seq., controls. We join most of the other circuits that have ruled on the issue in construing the statute to mean work days.
Because of restrictions on timber supply and rising costs, Stone Forest Industries shut down its plywood mill in Albany, Oregon. The company told the employees on September 26, 1994, that the mill would close two days later, September 28, but that they would be paid until November 26, 61 days after the notice. They could pick up their paychecks each payday at the personnel office. Even though the mill would be closed and they would not be working, they would get paid during the 61 days, measured by what they had worked before the shutdown, with benefits and vacation pay to be cashed out with their final paychecks.
The full time employees brought a class action for additional pay. Their theory was that they should get paid for each calendar day during the last 60 days, not just each work day. The magistrate Judge opined that they were entitled only to be paid for the work days, and because the company had paid them fully for all work days, they were entitled to no damages for the company's failure to give them the required 60 days notice before the mill shut down. The district court accepted the magistrate Judge's recommendation, and granted summary judgment to the company. The workers appeal. No party asserts that there are any issues of fact.
Congress passed a law in 1988 saying that "[a]n employer shall not order a plant closing or mass layoff until the end of a 60-day period after the employer serves written notice. . . ." 29 U.S.C. S 2102(a).
The statute carefully delineates the liability of employers who violate its terms, and provides that the remedies listed are "exclusive." 29 U.S.C. S 2104(b). The remedy relevant to the case at bar is "back pay for ...