The Bay Shore location of a New Jersey-based commercial laundry where a worker died in 2011 has closed, according to a state regulatory filing.
The Prestige Industries site, which had 141 employees, closed Monday, the filing with the state Labor Department states. In the filing, the Lyndhurst, New Jersey-based parent company blamed the closing on the “unexpected collapse” of its “tunnel washer system,” which typically consists of automated chutes, conveyor belts and elongated laundry machines.
Prestige did not respond to repeated phone calls seeking comment.
It is not known if any of the Long Island employees would be offered jobs at the company’s other facilities in North Bergen and Paterson, New Jersey.
A lawyer for Local 1964 of the International Longshoremen’s Association/AFL-CIO, the New Jersey-based union that represents the workers, Wednesday questioned the reason for the sudden closing. The notice was dated Dec. 28 and posted on the state Labor Department’s website the next day.
“It seems unlikely that a machine of this nature would totally collapse without some idea that this might happen,” said Bryan McCarthy, of upstate Brewster.
He said the union planned to sue the company to ensure that the workers received any benefits they are owed, including possible money because of the short notice of the closing.
New York’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires companies with at least 50 full-time employees to give workers a 90-day notice ahead of a mass layoff or closing or face penalties. Some exceptions are made for unforeseen economic circumstances.
On its website, Prestige says it is the largest private commercial laundry in the greater New York City area, processing up to 400,000 pounds of laundry daily for hotels, resorts, restaurants and clubs.
In 2011, a 24-year-old worker at the Bay Shore location was crushed to death by a conveyer-belt like shuttle that moved clothing between the washing and drying machines.
Prestige was fined $31,500 for “serious” violations related to the death and paid the penalties, confirmed Anthony Ciuffo, who heads the Long Island office of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The violations included not having fenced-off areas to prevent employees from entering the laundry shuttle area during operation, he said.