Georgia Pacific workers stress about upcoming layoffs
PORT HUDSON – Nearly 700 people in the capital area have two months to find a new job. Georgia Pacific, a paper company in Port Hudson, is closing the majority of their departments in March.
“Not again, was my first thought,” said JD Moreno.
Moreno has worked for the company for 22 years. He just got a promotion landing the top spot in his department. Now, he’s losing his job.
“I've dealt with this before. It’s hard but you still have to keep going forward.”
Hundreds are in the same shoes, forced to make a career change. Georgia Pacific released the cuts will be official in mid-March.
“We didn't think anything this soon because our paper machines are fairly new,” said Moreno.
Moreno is also a union official, he says the focus this past week has been on finalizing severance packages.
“It’s going to cover everyone who is going to leave there. That’s the good part about it because we have a couple of new hires.”
A job fair is set for Feb. 9 just for GP workers to help them land their next job. Nearly 150 companies have expressed interest in attending. International Paper is holding their own job fair starting Thursday.
“It’s good to know that there are jobs out there,” said Moreno.
But the jobs available may not live up to expectations.
“This is no nickel and dime operation,” said Moreno.
Moreno says some people make an upward of $80,000 to $100,000. Finding a job to match that will be tough.
"Yup, big pay cuts,” said Moreno. “The biggest thing is the younger guys just starting their families. They may have left a decent job to come there."
Georgia Pacific is not completely shutting down. Around 300 workers will stay on the job to manage the consumer tissue and towel business.