Layoffs leave many in bad place |

Layoffs leave many in bad place

by Sally J. Taylor

It’s never a great day to be laid off from work, but a few days before Thanksgiving is certainly among the worse days.

A week ago about 20 people were laid off from Tahoe Air. On Saturday everyone else, except for four administrative people, received walking papers.

Many have not yet been paid in full.

“They left a lot of people in a really bad place,” said Christy Oldenkamp who received her notice on Saturday.

Oldenkamp said that Tahoe Air still owes her for 65 1/2 hours of work. According to Oldenkamp her last paycheck, received three days late on Thursday, was short. Hours worked since the new pay period began Nov. 9 have not been paid either.

Some salaried employees did not receive anything, she said.

Oldenkamp said the employees had been told that it was up to Capital Bay Securities to pay them. Tahoe Air Chief Executive Officer Bruce Wetsel has a different story.

“When we get cash back (from deposits with Lorair and credit card companies), we’ll be able to pay these people,” he said.

“We had some good employees. Some of them we want to hire back.”

The promise of paychecks and getting hired back eventually does not help those in financial trouble now.

According to Oldenkamp, one fellow employee is owed quite a bit and in a desperate situation. A single mother with no child support, the co-worker’s phone has been disconnected, her rent is past due and she received a final notice on her electricity.

And now she’s out of work.

Other laid-off employees are sick and now their insurance is cut off, she said.

Oldenkamp is also unhappy with the way the flight cancellations were handled.

“They were canceling flights as we went along,” she said. “They said (last week) we were definitely going to fly on Thanksgiving and don’t call anyone back (to cancel flights).”

Once all flights were suspended, after the reservation agents were told that those holding tickets had been notified and refunded, she and a co-worker found 250 people still in the system.

Other people, who canceled flights earlier, are left holding travel vouchers for an airline that is not flying.

“They owe a lot of people a lot of money.”

Most of all, Oldenkamp is frustrated for her co-workers.

“The hardest working people I’ve seen were downstairs in the reservations office and out at the airport,” Oldenkamp said. “While upstairs (in the administrative offices) everybody is playing airline and putting their feet up on their desks. …

“It’s sad. We all became a family in there and now we can’t really help the ones who need it.”

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