Atlanta Co. to Shutter Duluth Plant, Lay Off 140

Workers at Georgia-Pacific’s Duluth plant were notified Tuesday morning that the facility will shut down at the end of the month.

Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific will reportedly close its hardboard manufacturing plant in Duluth at the end of the month, putting 140 employees out of work.
 
Company spokesman Eric Abercrombie told the Associated Press (AP) that Georgia-Pacific made the decision after conducting a “thorough review in seeking to optimize our business and manufacturing operations.”
 
“We’re looking at the long-term vision for the Georgia-Pacific wood products division as a whole,” he added.
 
Duluth Mayor Don Ness said in a statement that the news is “disappointing” because the company previously assured him that it would keep the plant open.
 
“We will start working immediately to support new operations at the plant,” Ness said. “Meanwhile, our focus will be on the work force that will be displaced.”
 
The plant is reportedly scheduled to close on August 31, while manufacturing will cease the day before.
 
Abercrombie told the AP that the Duluth plant’s employees are welcome to apply for jobs at the company’s other facilities.
 
Meanwhile, a Minnesota law requires employers to give their workers at least 60 days notice regarding a plant closure or layoffs, but employees at the Duluth plant weren’t notified of the closure until Tuesday morning, according to the Duluth News Tribune. However, the company said that the employees will receive regular pay and benefits for 60 days from Tuesday, the newspaper reported.

Hardboard is a wood-like product manufactured by binding fibers and particles found in natural wood. Georgia-Pacific’s Duluth plant manufactures a thin hardboard product called Superwood that’s widely used in the auto industry. After the closure, the company will likely transfer the production of Superwood to other facilities, including a plant in Phillips, Wisconsin, according to the AP.
 
Abercrombie told the Duluth News Tribune that the company will reallocate any useable equipment from the Duluth plant and sell the remaining assets.
 
Georgia-Pacific manufactures and sells packaging, paper, pulp, and building products and related chemicals. The company reportedly employs more than 40,000 people at approximately 300 locations in North America, South America, and Europe.