Georgia Pacific confirms asking company to leave job fair

Arkansas News

UPDATE (07/24/19) — Georgia Pacific confirmed asking one company to leave the job fair they were hosting for employees that will be laid-off by October.

40 companies from Arkansas and Louisiana were asked to participate in the fair. According to the plant, all of the employers were given one specific rule that they all had to abide by.

“We asked that they speak only to employees who are losing their jobs,” Georgia Pacific Spokeswoman Jennifer King said.

King stated that an employee who will not be affected by the cuts came to the fair shortly before the event began to speak with Delek. King stated the company and employee had prior conversations about a job opportunity and were able to confirm both parties were discussing that opportunity at the event.

The companies were given a verbal notice as they entered the premises to only speak with those employees who were affected by the cuts.

“Other than that, they were free to do interviews, take resumes, anything they wanted to,” King said. “That was the only thing we asked of them is to only talk to those employees who would be losing their job.”

Employees who weren’t at risk of losing their jobs were asked not to attend. King said the job fair was strictly for employees affected by the cuts.

“It was very important to us that all employees who would be displaced in the future have the same opportunities at the same time to talk to the same companies,” King said.

King stated Delek and the employee could have engaged in conversations about opportunities but it had to be outside of the job fair.

“We were uncomfortable that they didn’t respect our request,” she said. “The company did not ask us to reconsider the decision.”

We made several attempts to reach out to the company but they couldn’t be reached for comment.

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CROSSETT, ARKANSAS (07/23/19) — UPDATE — Georgia Pacific is trying to make up for what has been a devastating month for over 500 workers. The plant is hosting a job fair to help over half of its workforce find other employment by October.

“It’s very important for us to do our best to take care of our employees because they are our family,” Georgia Pacific Spokeswoman Jennifer King said. “We did invite a number of companies to come out here because we do have a very skilled workforce and we want them to be employed.”

The job fair has been a project officials have been working on since the announcement of the closure in June. The two day fair is specifically designed to be for employees only.

“We wanted to give them the first shot at finding employment particularly in this area which is what we focused on,” King said.

Companies within a 75-mile radius filled rooms at G.P.’s Learning Center, including Canfor, Southern Pine, El Dorado Packaging, Ingevity, Murphy USA and Lockheed Martin. Many of the plant’s biggest competitors were there too, all hoping to recruit some of GP’s finest workers.

Owen Carpenter is one of the employees that will be affected by the cuts. When he heard the announcement, he was very disappointed.

Owen Carpenter speaking to an employer at Georgia Pacific's job fair.
Owen Carpenter speaking to an employer at Georgia Pacific’s job fair.

“It was heartbreaking, you know,” Carpenter said. “I thought I had a career. 13 years, it’s gone.”

All is not lost for these employees, though. Many workers like Carpenter say the job fair gave them much needed hope.

“I’m a lot more hopeful,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of people who were actually interested in me and I didn’t think that was going to be possible.”

The plant offered resume support and interview preparation prior to the fair. Arkansas and Louisiana Workforce Center assisted in those efforts. Employees are very appreciative of how much the plant is making sure they are okay even before the cuts actually happen.

“G.P is not hanging us out there to dry,” Carpenters said. “I feel like they’re doing right by us.”

The fair will also be going on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Officials are working on hosting a community wide job fair for other workers who were also affected by the cuts.

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(UPDATE 6/4/19) Georgia Pacific has been the heart of the Crossett for more than a century. The recent devastating news of a partial shutdown has really rocked this community.

“The city of Crossett was actually built around the mill,” said Jennifer King, Public Affairs Manager at the Crossett plant. “We’ve always been the heartbeat of the community.”

Now, it’s losing its pulse with more than 500 people expected to lose their jobs by mid-October. Many say they weren’t surprised. Others were in total disbelief.

“It’s not the first blow the community of Crossett has taken. In 2011, Georgia Pacific announced the closure of the city’s plywood mill. Then, 700 employees had to find somewhere else to go. 

“The main reason is economics,” King said.

A huge staple in the community is losing another vital piece of its industry. Officials announced the bleached board, pulping and extrusion operation would all permanently close.

Families and even businesses are left wondering what will happen next.

“I hate to see this happen because a lot of people base their livelihood on Georgia Pacific,” Mayor Scott McCormick said.

One thing is for sure, residents say they will get through this. They may be a small town, but they’re full of resilience.

“We’ll be okay,” Gill said. “We’ll bounce back.”

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(6/4/19) CROSSETT, Ar. — Georgia-Pacific has announced today that it will be shutting down part of their plant in Crossett, Arkansas.

According to their announcement, the company will shut down the equipment and processes supporting the bleached board operations in October 2019. The decision was based on an assessment of the mill’s ability to compete effectively in the bleached board market.

These closures will affect nearly 530 jobs at the facility, and another 25 business and sales jobs will also be affected.

“Our Crossett employees have worked hard to safely and productively manage our operations there, and in recent years we have invested significantly in our operations. However, we have decided that the required investments needed for the bleached board machines, pulp mill and woodyard to sustain the operation long-term are not economically viable,” said Monty Brown, senior vice president – Consumer Products Group Operations. “We understand the impact this decision has on our employees, families and the community, and we will work cooperatively with the state and the community to minimize that impact.”

Discussions between Georgia-Pacific and the workforce on how this process will work for affected employees will begin over the next month.

The facility will continue its consumer tissue and towel production, retaining about 500 employees to manage those operations.

Georgia-Pacific also announced that they will be closing the particleboard facility in Hope, Arkansas over the next couple of months, affecting roughly 100 employees.

See below for the full press release.

Georgia-Pacific announced today that it is shutting down the equipment and processes supporting the bleached board operations at its Crossett, Arkansas, facility as of October 2019. This decision was based on an assessment of the mill’s ability to compete effectively in the bleached board market. As a result, the company will permanently shut down the bleached board machines, as well as the extrusion plant, woodyard, pulp mill and a significant portion of the energy complex at the Crossett mill. The company also in July will shut down one of the mill’s older tissue machines that doesn’t support the long-term competitiveness of the tissue business. Approximately 530 jobs at the facility will ultimately be impacted by these closures. About 25 business and sales jobs also will be affected by this decision. Georgia-Pacific will continue to operate and invest in the Crossett mill to support its consumer tissue and towel business. The Crossett facility has premium product tissue and towel machines and associated converting equipment, so it remains a key contributor to the success of the Consumer Products Group’s retail business. The company will retain approximately 500 employees to manage those operations. Until the assets are shut down in October, Georgia-Pacific employees will continue to operate the mill in its current manufacturing configuration. During the next month, Georgia-Pacific will begin discussions with union leadership and the hourly and salaried workforce on how the process will work for employees affected by the job reductions, including the potential to transfer to other Georgia-Pacific locations. The company will also begin working with its customers on transitioning their bleached board product supply. Georgia-Pacific’s bleached board business, including supply to the Dixie® business, will be supported from the Naheola and Brewton, Alabama, mills and the St. Marys, Georgia, extrusion facility. “Our Crossett employees have worked hard to safely and productively manage our operations there, and in recent years we have invested significantly in our operations. However, we have decided that the required investments needed for the bleached board machines, pulp mill and woodyard to sustain the operation long-term are not economically viable,” said Monty Brown, senior vice president – Consumer Products Group Operations. “We understand the impact this News decision has on our employees, families and the community, and we will work cooperatively with the state and the community to minimize that impact.” In addition, the company announced today that it will close two particleboard facilities in Hope, Arkansas, and Monroeville, Alabama, over the next couple months and will not rebuild its Thomson, Georgia, facility, which experienced a catastrophic fire last week. Approximately 100 employees at each facility will be impacted. Georgia-Pacific’s particleboard production in Diboll, Texas, will remain in operation. About Georgia-Pacific Based in Atlanta, Georgia-Pacific and its subsidiaries are among the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of bath tissue, paper towels and napkins, tableware, paper-based packaging, cellulose, specialty fibers, nonwoven fabrics, building products and related chemicals. Our familiar consumer brands include Quilted Northern®, Angel Soft®, Brawny®, enMotion®, Sparkle®, Mardi Gras®, Vanity Fair®, and Dixie®. Georgia-Pacific has long been a leading supplier of building products to lumber and building materials dealers and large do-it-yourself warehouse retailers. Its GeorgiaPacific Recycling subsidiary is among the world’s largest recyclers of paper, metal and plastics. The company operates approximately 200 facilities and employs approximately 35,000 people directly and creates nearly 92,000 jobs indirectly. For more information, visit: gp.com

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