-Westerly business destroyed, 55 out of work

Andrea Medeiros


Dozens of bakery workers in Westerly have not been paid since Sandy hit. The roof of their business was ripped right off, but there could be some relief on the way.

A mass of mangled metal was once part of the roof on a Westerly bakery. Whirling winds ripped it off, leaving a gaping hole and setting off the sprinklers.

And because water got inside, rack upon rack of bakery items will have to be thrown out, costing tens of thousands of dollars.

The building has been ruled unsafe, so 55 bakery workers haven't gotten paid for three days.

“I'm married with two girls, one is attending Providence College, so certainly I need a paycheck, said bakery worker Mike Tourville.

The Department of Labor said stories like this are being told all over the state, so they're speeding up the process of getting unemployment benefits.

“Folks who have been out of work from the storm, and it has to be directly related to the storm. It can't be someone who's seasonally out of work, the waiting period is waved. They can get paid for the week we're in now, which is normally not the case, said DLT Director Charles Fogarty.

So if you're laid off and you file now, You could get paid as early as the next week, but that won't help this Westerly bakery get back to business.

“This building right here, we can't be doing anything in here, so until we get our building next door up, we're kind of at a stand still, said bakery owner Jeff Saunders. He could potentially lose thousands of dollars and customers by the day.

In order for workers to take advantage of waiving the one week waiting period for unemployment benefits, they need to talk to their company leaders about signing up at the DLT.