International Paper announces layoffs at mill

International Paper announced layoffs on Tuesday. (WRDW-TV)
International Paper announced layoffs on Tuesday. (WRDW-TV)
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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Close to 80 people will be out of a job next month. This comes after International Paper announced plans for a permanent shutdown of one its printers that makes paperboard in Augusta.

Lori Williams has been working at a convenience store near the mill for almost two years. Williams says she's used to having employees from International Paper Mill starting their day with her.

"They're pulling on the doors before I even unlock them. I mean, they are in here day in and day out. From the time we open, 'til the time we close at midnight," she said.

Williams says she doesn't like to hear when people lose their jobs, but especially when she knows them.

"I hate the fact that they are going to lose their jobs. A lot of them have little kids and some of them have newborns. I talk to a lot of them every day," Williams said.

Williams isn't the only that hates to hear the news. Mayor Deke Copenhaver doesn't like it either but wants those effected to try and stay positive.

"I'm hopeful, as we been able to create 272 new manufacturing jobs in the local marketplace, that there will be the potential for them to take advantage of that," Copenhaver said.

The mill has been in Augusta for over 50 years and will still employ more than 700 people. Cameras weren't allowed in the meeting when employees were told about the layoffs, but the mill manager did talk to News 12 over the phone. He said it was a surprise for a number of employees.

Williams says the layoffs will also affect more than just the 75 people from the mill.

"It's probably going to slow us down quite a bit. A lot of our business is from the trailer park and behind us, but a lot of it is the plants," she said.

The mill manager says the announcement was not a pleasant message to present. He said that they tried to be as transparent as possible and give the employees the facts. The company will also provide severance to those affected and try to help them find other jobs.

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