The corporation's main areas feeling the economic pinch company-wide are its building products and packaging divisions, though those divisions aren't housed in Plattsburgh, said Stallsmith. However, retail napkin and towel divisions like the ones located here which produce products like Brawny and Sparkle, are also being hit hard, he said.
"[Paper napkins and paper towels] fall into a category that when times get tough, consumers often times view as a discretionary-type product," he said.
The corporation's bathroom tissue division is one which appears to be performing well, said Stallsmith. The Plattsburgh facility's bathroom tissue operations were expanded earlier this year with a $20 million investment that allowed for the production of Quilted Northern Ultra Plush Bath Tissue, a three-ply branded product that has been "performing well in the marketplace," he said.
"That's the basis from which we hope to grow," said Stallsmith.
Jeffrey C. Dickinson, president of United Steelworkers Local 387, the union which represents the mill's employees, said the decision to lay off the employees wasn't unfavorable, but understandable given the state of the economy.
"We don't like it," Dickinson said of the lay-offs, "but we can see for us to be competitive that we're going to have to downsize ... We just want to help the business make money and grow so we can hopefully get some of these people back here."
Stallsmith said Georgia-Pacific will host job fairs after the start of the new year, and has already begun communicating with local employers interested in hiring "qualified, talented individuals." Classes on resume writing and financial planning will also be hosted, he said, adding management and the union will "work together professionally to do what's right for the employees."
"We're going to do everything possible to assist our employees through this transition," said Stallsmith. "Our whole intent is to have people hopefully not miss a beat from working at Georgia-Pacific to working in another facility or another plant so they don't end up in an unemployment situation. If they do, hopefully it's not for very long."