2009-01-14 / Front Page

G-P announces layoffs

No. 3 paper machine shut down will eliminate over 100 jobs

Companies across the nation have been announcing cutbacks, layoffs and plant closings the past several months. Georgia-Pacific has been among those companies bearing bad news to some of its employees and their communities.

That bad news finally arrived in Early County Monday morning when company officials announced a move that will layoff approximately 20 percent of the approximately 550 employees at the Cedar Springs facility by the end of January.

Company spokesperson Celia Bostwick told the News Monday that the company plans to shut down the No. 3 paper machine indefinitely in an effort to compensate for the declining customer demand.

"We have excellent employees and we make a quality product that is known and respected around the world," Bostwick stated. "But, we are challenged in the current economic climate. We have reduced our production over the past several months in response to declining customer demands."

"This is a tough decision because it affects the people we work with, our friends and neighbors," she stated. "Our intent in taking the machine down is to become more competitive. With everyone working safely while continuing to look for ways to reduce costs, we will keep the mill competitive in this economic downturn."

Bostwick said it will be sometime next week before the actual number of jobs affected will be determined.

The job cuts include jobs from all departments at the mill. It is not yet known how many of those employees losing their jobs will be from Early County. Additional information may be released next week.

"Indefinitely" means for an undetermined length of time. When, and if, the company puts the No. 3 machine back into production will depend on the global economic crisis and customer demand.

While the announcement was devastating to the employees who will be affected, it should not have come as a surprise.

A quick online search revealed that the layoffs at Cedar Springs come on the measures announced across the country in recent months involving hundreds of jobs, curtailed operations and several plant closings.

Like most other companies, Georgia-Pacific is faced with finding ways to cut costs to meet challenges being created by the global financial crisis and the housing and credit crisis in the U.S. caused by the subprime market crash.

Georgia-Pacific, one of the nation's leading corrugated box manufacturers, has 300 manufacturing facilities across North America, South America and Europe, including 56 plants and six mills throughout the United States.

The corporation employs a total of 50,000 workers.

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