Great Plains Airline creat some financial problems for its employees

Wednesday, January 28th 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

When Great Plains Airlines filed for bankruptcy last Friday, it was pretty obvious the company had financial problems. But now, company workers say it's creating financial problems for them too.

They say the paychecks they got Friday were taken back out of their accounts. News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg has more.

Mechanic Wayne Ping was laid off from Great Plains last week and got his last paycheck on Friday. But he says he was tipped off by a co-worker who still works at the airline. "He said, 'check your bank', I do Internet banking, so I went an looked up my account and sure enough, it showed a reversal."

Several Great Plains workers, some who were laid-off, some who still work there, told the News on 6 that Paychex, the payroll processor for Great Plains, made a payroll reversal, basically took the money out of their accounts that had been direct deposited into them on Friday.

Ping says when he went to his bank, he tried to remember the advice he gives his kids. "You can't solve a problem if you're frustrated or mad; by the time I got there I was breathing pretty heavy."

Ping says his bank reversed the reversal, and he got his pay back. But he says he knows of at least one co-worker who uses a different bank and wasn't so lucky. “He’s still out the money."

Great Plains confirms that pay reversals did happen, but isn't sure how many or how each of the situations will be resolved. And Great Plains CEO David Johnson says Great Plains did not instruct Paychex to make the reversal, which Paychex acted on its own.

He says Paychex's position is going to be there wasn't sufficient money to pay salaries. He added that as it turned out with the way the bankruptcy filing occurred, there probably was not.

Ping meanwhile is still surprised. "I was concerned that they could get in my account after I was laid off, and take what they wanted."