Terrace Williams Moving and Storage employees ‘in limbo’ after company declares bankruptcy

Many of the 17 employees have been with the company for over 20 years

Local Williams Moving and Storage dispatcher and office manager Glen Peterson in the process of packing up his work belongings after he and 16 others from the Terrace yard were laid off when the company declared bankruptcy last week.

The sudden bankruptcy of Williams Moving and Storage and closure of the Terrace operations on Kalum Lake Road has left its 17 employees scrambling to figure out what they will do next.

“Everybody is in limbo, everybody is in shock because most of us have been here for 25, 26 years,” said dispatcher and officer manager Glen Peterson who was helping shut down the offices on Jan. 22 and 23.

Williams announced Jan. 21 it would be filing under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and named Deliotte Restructuring to represent them as it attempts to free up any money it can by selling off its remaining assets.

The closure meant layoffs for the majority of the company’s 300 workers in B.C. and Alberta and according to UNIFOR Local 114 national representative Mark Cameron whose union represents 125 of the workers, these laid-off employees are in for a “rocky ride”.

The collapse of a family-owned company that survived for 86 years was a surprise, said Cameron. “Williams was the best,” he added.

Observers said the company never fully recovered from the recession which began in 2008.

Employee of 25 years Alex Aszody said that in actual fact the company had been struggling. Raises never happened, and pensions had been cut to make up for growing shortfalls, he said.

And now Aszody is owed $6,800 in vacation pay and wages that UNIFOR says he will only see about half of through a bankruptcy act settlement.

As of late last week, ex-employees like Peterson and Aszody – drivers, loaders, and officer workers – were still waiting to find out how much of their travel, vacation and severance they will receive.

Customers who have belongings stored at the Terrace facility were unclear last week what would happen to their stuff.

“Everything is a little bit up in the air right now because they are now planning to rent this building out and they may be able to keep their storage stuff here but cannot be sure,” said Peterson, adding that customers with items in the 30 or so wood containers have been calling in worried.

He said that on the first day of closure, a truck full of Sears merchandise was left in limbo.

“A lot of people are coming in wondering what’s going on. One of our ladies who is in storage came in and said ‘I heard last night that it closed down’ so nobody really contacted her as far as letting anybody know.”

For its part, Williams had a note on its website on Friday saying that storage facilities were still secure and had a contact number for those who wanted to move their items. It also said that storage clients would be contacted soon by the company and told when they can come collect their items.

“It’s been a whirlwind couple of days where I have been trying to figure out what I want to do now and also getting all of our personal items out of here,” Peterson said. “I am really disappointed with the way it was handled,” he said.

“It was all peaches and cream. I got a good feeling from that conference call,” he said of his regular Tuesday meeting the day before the notice came.

“They tell us on the Tuesday webinars that everything is doing well, it’s going up, it’s going up right. The next day we get an email in the morning saying everybody’s got to be on a conference call at 3 p.m.” That’s when they were informed the company couldn’t keep its finances afloat, he said.

The only exceptions to the closures are Cranbrook and Lethbridge branches which are a separate entity.


Just Posted

College buys a yurt to boost student success

Round tent-like structure part of college instructional shift

Soup kitchen sees “groundswell of community support”

Donations toward looming tax bill push non-profit back in the black

Terrace husband and wife honoured for saving each other’s lives

BC Ambulance presented each a Vital Link Award for separate incidents of CPR

Council supports lobby for fair share of cannabis tax revenue

The City of Terrace is throwing its support behind a West Kelowna… Continue reading

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Most Read