Workers protest for paychecks

Workers wait for their paychecks outside JAT
Workers wait for their paychecks outside JAT
Arthur Coleman, III, the company's owner
Arthur Coleman, III, the company's owner

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Employees of a security company say they're worried about their financial safety.

Wednesday, dozens of workers from JAT Bureau of Protective Services and Management, Incorporated lined South Court Street, demanding answers--and a paycheck.

Workers say the company hasn't paid them properly for weeks.

"They're putting a strain on the workers that will come to work, but now it's to the point where no one's getting paid, no one wants to work, and we're just fed up," said Tamika Scott, who quit after JAT didn't pay her on Friday.

Locked out of the office, staffers set up in front of the headquarters, wanting to know why the company won't tackle the problem.

"I have a ten month old baby myself, and I have to buy formula, pampers, you know, everything that my baby requires," said Chrystal Washington of Montgomery.

Supervisors, with cars blocked by workers, wouldn't say much about the matter.

A half hour later, Arthur Coleman, the company's owner, explained the issue.

Coleman says many clients only pay once per month--and his small company can't get the loans it needs to keep the cash flowing.

"Right now, we're having a lack of funding from financial institutions, especially for small, disabled veterans businesses," he explained.

Coleman said he wanted to help. However, once he met inside with employees, he told them the money's not going to get to them any faster.

"You think the media is going to scare me from doing what I'm going to do? No. You think that's going to bother me and get you paid sooner? No. You think that's going to put me out of business? No. That don't put you out of business," Coleman told employees.

Coleman tells WSFA 12 News he only meant the banks are the ones in charge.

Eventually, employees did receive some handwritten checks.  Some of them took the money and left.  Others, like Tamika Scott, gave their notice.

"If it's so hard to pay your employees, you may need to close it down," Scott said.

Other workers pray next time won't be so difficult.

"I'm hoping that they really get themselves together and stop paying people on time, because people need their money," said Roderick Thomas of Montgomery.

Arthur Coleman says he's doing everything he can to keep the money flowing. At one point, he said he used his own money, bonds, and money from friends to keep up with payroll.

Workers say this has happened before and just hope this doesn't happen again.

JAT employs about 90 people in Montgomery. The company's largest client in the area is the  Alabama Department of Corrections.

The company's owner says the state helped pay the workers Wednesday.

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