When WCE Oil Field Services suddenly went bankrupt back in 2015, more than forty North Dakota oilfield workers were left without pay. That is, until an anonymous donor compensated the unpaid oilfield workers for their owed wages.
In total, the 42 workers had submitted claims totaling over $750,000. That’s one of the largest ever claims against a simple employer in North Dakota. It seemed unlikely that the workers would ever see these wages, so the North Dakota Department of Labor began soliciting donations from the oil industry.
The former WCE employees were not part of any worker’s union. Still, The Labors District Council felt that it was part of their mission to ensure that a fair day’s work earned a fair day’s wage.
Donations to Unpaid Oilfield Workers
Starting January 16th, the workers began receiving checks ranging from 3,000 to 20,000 dollars, depending on the size of their claims. The origin of the generous donations remains undisclosed. Worker’s heard word that they’d be receiving compensation right around Christmas time, a long-awaited, much-deserved Christmas gift.
The generous donations cover only about a third of the total lost wages. Still, the donation helps families involved to pay important expenses, such as health insurance and educational accounts for their children.
This case is far from the only instance of a company shutting down, and leaving its employees unpaid. What makes this case unique, however, is that the workers documented their lost income and filed with the Labor Department. With luck, future employers can use this situation as an example to do better.