Gov. puts rush on unemployment benefits for ConAgra workers

Posted November 24, 2009 5:17 p.m. EST

— Gov. Bev Perdue signed an executive order Tuesday to hasten unemployment benefits for the hundreds of people laid off by ConAgra Foods.

The company cut jobs in earlier this month, citing the lost production at its Garner plant that resulted from a fatal explosion there in June.

The June 9 explosion at the facility caused part of the building's roof to collapse, killing three workers and sending dozens of others to the hospital. A fourth person, contractor Curtis Ray Poppe died last Thursday of injuries suffered in the blast.

Perdue's move means those laid off will not have the standard one-week wait before they can begin collecting unemployment benefits.

State law permits the governor to waive the “waiting week” for the victims of a major industrial disaster.

“Already in the midst of tough economic times, the ConAgra disaster was a major blow to hundreds of North Carolina families,” Perdue said in a statement released Tuesday. “Speeding up unemployment benefits will help these families get back on their feet faster.”