Perry Georgia-Pacific plant scaling back production, laying off 150 employees

Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 4:46 PM EDT
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PERRY, Fla. (WCTV) - The Georgia-Pacific Foley Cellulose Mill in Perry, Florida is scaling back production at its plant, citing reduced product demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

William B. Haggin lives in Perry and states, “I think it’s it’s going to be bad.” The logger was shocked to hear the news. In the town of more than 17,000, 530 employees work at the Georgia-Pacific Foley location.

Next week 150 of them will be laid off or terminated from their position.

Haggin furthers, “It’s going to be devastating because it is going to be a chain reaction to start with and it’s going to affect a lot of families down here for sure.”

Kimberly Perez she is on the verge of becoming homeless. She shares she understands, and feels for those who will soon be struggling, “That is not a good thing for the town, I don’t think it’s good for people, no one can really afford the times we are living in right now.”

The mill is used to create specialty fibers from pine trees, which goes on to make fabrics, textiles, industrial fibers, among other things. As of Tuesday, GP deciding that their production lines 2 and 3 (the ones used specifically for the items listed above), will temporarily go idle.

Scott Mixon, the public affairs manager of Georgia-Pacific shares, ”We are confident that the economy is going to rebound at some point in the future, we just don’t know when.”

That is why GP is trying to move forward with what Mixon calls the best move, right now, for business, “We completely understand the concern and anxiety that this will create in the community but we are working with those teammates so that they know all of their options and make sure that they know that we are going to treat them with dignity and respect and hopefully call them back to work as soon as possible.”

Production will be suspended on two of the mill’s three lines, beginning July 2.

“This was a very difficult decision to make,” said spokesman Scott Mixon, “We are working to minimize the impact to our employees.”

Georgia Pacific hopes to resume one of the suspended lines in the fall, as market demand and economic conditions get better.

Those in the community, like Haggin are saddened, but he knows Perry will pick back up, “The good thing about this town is that there is a lot of people who care, who care about other people so even if times get real hard I think they will be okay, I really do.”

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