Georgia-Pacific provides update on Foley Cellulose mill closure

Hundreds of workers at the mill in Perry will soon lose their jobs
Perry Foley Mill: File 2020
Perry Foley Mill: File 2020(WCTV)
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 1:49 PM EDT
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PERRY, Fla. (WCTV) - Georgia-Pacific shared more details Tuesday about its decision to shut down the Foley Cellulose mill in Perry.

Georgia-Pacific announced the closure on Monday, saying that all of the approximately 525 jobs at the mill would be affected.

In an email, a spokesperson responded to follow-up questions from WCTV’s Savannah Kelley.

When asked for a specific timeline for the closure and impending layoffs, Robert Mixon told WCTV, “Production and runtime for this site will continue as the site works to fulfill customer orders; however, an overall schedule has not been finalized.”

Mixon said that Georgia-Pacific will offer severance packages for eligible salaried employees. As for hourly employees, Mixon stated that Georgia-Pacific “will be entering effects bargaining with the United Steel Workers to discuss hourly employee benefits (including severance).”

According to Mixon, Foley mill employees will have options to continue working for Georgia-Pacific.

“During the coming months, Georgia-Pacific will work with affected employees who are interested in transitions to other opportunities within Georgia-Pacific, other Koch companies, or opportunities outside of the company,” Mixon wrote. “Georgia-Pacific is committed to supporting employees in finding employment through job fairs and placement services or other available resources. We will work with local community and state agencies that can provide additional transitional support to employees.”

WCTV also asked about the factors that influenced Georgia-Pacific to decide to shut down the Foley mill. Mixon said that “various factors” went into the decision.

“Ultimately,” Mixon responded, “we do not believe that the mill can competitively serve our customers in the long term despite the significant investments and commitment by Georgia-Pacific since we acquired the site.” Mixon added that this decision “has nothing to do with the quality of work” at the mill.

Finally, when asked if Hurricane Idalia had any effects on this decision, Mixon told WCTV, “This decision was made prior to the hurricane,” but that the storm “complicated the situation” because of impacts to the mill’s equipment.

The Foley Cellulose mill is Taylor County’s largest employer. It has been in the community since the 1950s, with Georgia-Pacific operating the mill since 2013.

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