December 13, 2019

G-P union ends layoff bargaining

OLD TOWN – The majority of those who will be laid off by Georgia-Pacific Corp. have been notified, according to G-P PACE Local 80 union officials. Negotiations between paper mill and union representatives have been completed.

Bargaining began last month with the announcement that about 50 employees will be out of a job when the mill’s converting lines are shut down.

The layoffs aren’t related to the recent announcement that G-P is being sold to Koch Industries Inc. of Wichita, Kan. Koch is a private company, and it’s not certain what the company intends to do with the Old Town mill, but employees hope the change will be good.

Koch bought G-P’s pulp operations in New Augusta, Miss., and Brunswick, Ga., and since the purchase, has invested millions of dollars in the two facilities.

“Having derived an opinion from what we do know … they own pulp facilities that they’ve purchased from G-P,” PACE Local 80 President Paul Randall said Thursday. “I think that gives us a little more hope because we’re part of their core business.”

The sale is expected to be final after the first of next year, but until they’re told otherwise, it’s business as usual at the Old Town mill, G-P spokeswoman Kelli Roy has said.

“They obviously have the money to put capital improvements in their facilities,” Randall said.

Before the sale was announced, G-P’s corporate headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., decided to shut down all converting lines at the Old Town paper mill by year’s end. The Old Town mill’s six converting lines are used to transform large rolls of paper products into what consumers see on the shelves.

After the lines are shut down, the mill will continue to produce paper pulp and parent rolls, which are large rolls of paper products. No one has been laid off yet, and most employees are expected to stay on for a few more months.

“Now we’re in the implementing process of bringing senior employees into junior jobs,” Randall said.

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