Unpaid Workers Still on Job in Dimmitt - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Unpaid Workers Still on Job in Dimmitt

Working for free. It happened to nursing home employees in Amarillo and now Dimmitt too.

The same company that refused Palo Duro nursing home employees their paychecks has now skipped payments to Dimmitt workers for more than a month. We're told about 90 workers in Amarillo and Dimmitt have filed wage claims with the state against Honor Services. That's the company that closed the doors of the nursing home in Amarillo. The Dimmitt nursing home they used to own is still open and the unpaid workers are still on the job. In spite of the paycheck crisis none of the Dimmitt workers have abandoned their posts.

"We just think that you know this is where we're supposed to be," says nursing home administrator Faye Houston. "I couldn't walk out and leave all these residents without somebody to take care of 'em." That's a relief for Dimmitt residents... especially recent arrivals forced out of the Palo Duro nursing home last month.  "I thank God every morning that all the staff is here to take care of us," says resident Tami Hightower.  "At least these folks didn't have to find a new place of employment."

They still have their jobs because a new company has agreed to take over operations in Dimmitt.  Now workers are counting on them for future paychecks. But  the company who owes the missing money remains out of touch. "We tried several times to call and ask about our paychecks and they just hung up on us," says Houston. She even tried calling owners James and Carmen Jewel while we were there. The owners did not return our phone calls either, but James Jewel's brother confirms the family is out of the nursing home business.

A spokeswoman for the Texas Workforce Commission says the state is investigating the wage claims against Honor Services.  The agency is expected to make a decision on those claims within 90 days. In the meantime, there's a fundraiser event planned for the workers in Dimmitt this Friday. To find out more about the event, contact Lynn Birkenfeld at 647-2430.  

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