Georgia-Pacific Closes Hawthorne Plant

About 400 Employees Will Receive Pay For Next 60 Days

HAWTHORNE, Fla. - Workers at the Georgia-Pacific plant in Hawthorne are idled after the plant closed for several weeks.

Both the plant in Hawthorne and the plant in Crossett, Ark., suspended their operations indefinitely on Sept. 9.

The decision affects about 400 employees in Hawthorne and 700 employees in Crossett. Georgia-Pacific is Hawthorne's largest employer. About 1,400 people live in Hawthorne.

Georgia-Pacific's President of Wood Products Mark Luetters blamed lack of demand on the decision.

"Georgia-Pacific continued to operate these plants with the hope plywood demand would improve, and this has not happened," Luetters said in a statement.

The company added that the cuts are "due to the ongoing weak market conditions for building products."

The affected employees will continue to be paid for the next 60 days, though production will be stalled on Oct. 14. The company said it is working with the Department of Labor in both states to help those employees file for unemployment.

The company said those employees will be able to apply for other open positions within Georgia-Pacific.

"There's all kinds of jobs that are being lost at GP, so we're trying to line up different kinds of jobs, different skill levels that they can possibly stay here in the community," Hawthorne Mayor Matt Surrency said.

After 32 years of working for Georgia-Pacific, Kathy Thomas is counting down the days until the Hawthorne branch haults production and puts her out of work.

"I mean, what can you do? Nothing you can do," she said.

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