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Swept Aside

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Published June 15, 2005 at 4:00 p.m.

For 135 years, Specialty Filaments of Burlington has been manufacturing fibers used in everything from street sweepers to toothbrushes. But last month, company owner Capital Resource Partners (CRP) announced it's giving the brush-off to more than 130 workers, who will lose their jobs in July.

What's a lifetime of employment at Specialty Filaments worth? About three-and-a-half weeks' pay. That's the maximum severance package being offered to an employee with 43 years of service. Anyone who's been with the company less than five years -- the average length of employment is 15 -- gets nothing but a pink slip.

"These people dedicated their lives to this company," says Pam Pariseau, union president of UNITE HERE Local 438, who was among the 150-plus people at a Burlington rally last weekend. "If CRP didn't have the resources, it'd almost be understandable." Boston-based CRP, a privately owned investment firm, manages more than $1 billion in assets. Company officials did not return calls from Seven Days.