ST. PETERSBURG, Fla - Jessica Jines should be enjoying the first month of being a newlywed. Her honeymoon and happiness, however, were cut short by a text message telling her when she returned home she'd be out of a job at Universal Health Care.
"The faces, the tears, the sorrow, it is awful," said Jines, whose two year anniversary at the company is Thursday, one day before the company's doors close for good.
Jines is one of 800 UHC employees heading to the unemployment line. The company is in receivership and the state has taken over. The plans to liquidate the St. Petersburg based company are moving ahead. The state hopes to have it liquidated by month's end.
The state took control amid allegations of financial mismanagement by company leaders.
"Betrayed," explained Antonia Taylor, a worker. "I've put seven and half years into this company."
Taylor told ABC Action News her husband has been out of work and she has been keeping the family afloat financially. She said they are already falling behind on their mortgage payments.
"We can't feed our families. We can't pay our mortgages. This is going to be devastating for us. I honestly don't know how we are going to make it," Taylor said.
Taylor said employees thought their jobs were safe because they were told another company had plans to take over UHC and even met with CEOs.
Only the takeover never happened.
A second slap in the face for employees is word that paid time off or PTO will not be honored. In Jines' case, her two week honeymoon which she used her PTO days for will not be paid after all.
"We are not in a position where we can afford to not have those hours that we've all worked very hard to earn," Jines explained.
Workers from the local unemployment office came to UHC Wednesday to teach those laid off how to apply for unemployment. Jines said it helped because she has never had to do that before but will now. The only thing, if she qualifies for unemployment she will receive $6 an hour compared to the $21 she was earning.
On Thursday, a job fair is also being held for those laid off. Employees expect about 20 companies to be there.
Should Taylor not land a job, she fears she will be forced to remove her 4-year-old son from school. Jines said she will likely be reliant on relatives to get by.
"Everything in this life happens for a reason," Jines said while choking back tears.
Just like workers are being hurt by the massive layoff, local businesses are also being affected.
One local business owner said 70 percent of their revenue comes from UHC workers.
ABC Action News also spoke with a clerk at Detroit Liquors, a convenience store that serves UHC workers multiple times a day.
"In the mornings they all come in here," said Andrew Hutchins, a clerk. "Sodas. Water. Snacks. All day. I can't even count my customers on my one hand today."
Hutchins estimates the store will lose several hundred dollars in revenue a day due to the layoff. He does not think his store will close down but does think other businesses will have to find a new customer base to serve.
As for those 800 newly unemployed workers, a job fair will be held for them Thursday. Twenty companies are expected be there.
Their last official day of work will be Friday.
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