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Laid-off Necco workers find themselves in high demand

Revere Mayor Brian M. Arrigo (left) watched as Maria Alves and other employees grabbed job fliers Friday while waiting to pick up their last paychecks outside the Necco candy factory in Revere.Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

REVERE — Businesses are opening their doors for laid-off Necco workers, and there seems to be plenty of sugar to go around.

On Monday, Revere Mayor Brian M. Arrigo and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey met with more than 50 former employees of the candy factory — which closed without notice last Tuesday — and a dozen employers looking to fill job openings. During the event at Revere City Hall, former Necco workers gathered around tables covered with job listings and business cards, and were able to get copies of a list of 50 companies seeking to hire between two and 150 employees.


With the state unemployment rate at just 3.5 percent, Arrigo said, his office hopes to help many of the 230 displaced workers find an employer that values them and their families.

“Businesses that reached out to my office are looking for employees that have the experience and qualification that the Necco employees have,’’ Arrigo said. “That’s everything from machinists to electricians to frontline warehouse employees.”

Employers — including Legal Sea Foods chief executive Roger Berkowitz and James and Ellen Ray from the Primerica marketing firm — attended the fair.

“It’s a very tight job market,’’ Berkowitz said. “These are loyal employees, they did nothing wrong. They’re very employable.”

Bradford Airport Logistics, which handles shipping, trucking, food and beverages, and airport services, sent three representatives in hopes of filling 30 positions at a plant it will open in East Boston.

The fair also included representatives from the mayor’s human resource office to help with unemployment claims and resume building, as well as Haitian-Creole and Spanish language translators.

Round Hill Investments LLC, which bought the New England Confectionery Co. at an emergency auction in May, had told employees that the Revere plant would remain open at least until Nov. 30. But last Tuesday the company said that Necco had been sold to an unnamed candy manufacturer and that the factory was closed. Workers picked up their last checks on Friday.


Former Necco employees Dexter Main and Francesco D’Amelio on Friday filed a class-action lawsuit against Round Hill and its affiliate, Sweethearts Candy Co. LLC, claiming that Round Hill violated federal law by not providing advance notice of the factory’s shutdown. At Monday’s job fair, Main said he was pleased by the show of support, but that new jobs don’t equate to justice for the workers.

“It’s very encouraging. It looks like a strong job market, but it doesn’t change the wrongs that were committed against us,” Main said.

Arrigo’s office is planning a larger resource fair in mid-August in coordination with the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

Allison Hagan can be reached at allison.hagan@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @allisonhxgan.