Mayor's office offers aid to National Fish workers

MIKE SPRINGER/Staff file photoNational Fish & Seafood abruptly closed its plant on East Main Street in Gloucester on Friday.

Gloucester's mayor has mobilized her team to help employees of National Fish & Seafood, which abruptly closed its doors Friday afternoon.

"The news was not only a surprise to me but also very upsetting as it leaves many employees uncertain of what to do next," Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken said in a statement. 

The company gave some of its approximately 150 employees a severance package of 60 days’ pay and the continuation of health insurance for an indefinite period of time, the mayor said she was told. The company, founded in 1979, processed seafood at its 66,000-square-foot facility at 159 E. Main St.

“I immediately reached out to Governor Charlie Baker to make him aware of the situation, as well as my Community and Economic Development team to mobilize resources."

She said members of her administration will meet with Baker representatives Monday.

The city is also working with state Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and state Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, both of Gloucester, to help the employees and businesses affected by the closure, she said.

“Together we have launched a Rapid Response team through (state) Office of Business Development (MOBD) to help the affected employees," Romeo Theken said. Rapid Response services include information and assistance on unemployment insurance, workshops that prepare employees for new jobs, resume assistance, connections and referrals to MassHire Career Centers.

“I am committed to helping the displaced employees as they are our neighbors, friends and family. We will continue to follow the situation and provide information as it is available," she said.

Those seeking assistance should contact Chief Administrative Officer Jim Destino at jdestino@gloucester-ma.gov, and Community Development Director Jill Cahill at jcahill@gloucester-ma.gov.

Fishing Partnership Support Services in Blackburn Center will be setting up days for National Fish employees to answer health insurance questions or needs, the mayor said in a Facebook post. She also said Wellspring House and Action Inc. have offered to help.

Any local employers who have job opportunities and would like to be connected with the displaced National Fish & Seafood employees are asked to contact Destino or Cahill.

More information on MOBD Rapid Response Services is available by contacting Ken Messina, manager of business services, Labor and Workforce Development, at  617-626-5703 or kmessina@detma.org.

 

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