Employees of Georgia-Pacific in Mount Hope were issued a 60-day notice Monday, in accordance with the Worker Adjustment and Retaining Notification Act (WARN), that the plant will shut down for a curtailment of operations expected to last longer than six months.

According to the WARN notice, all production will cease by Oct. 1. The plant’s closing will affect about 100 workers in the area.

Melodie Ruse, Atlanta-based media contact for the company, said Tuesday that the company shut down last December “for the same reason. There was a little hiccup in economic demand.”

The employee communications letter from Plant Manager Neil Belt, received by all the plant’s workers, stated that “Georgia-Pacific reached this difficult decision because of current market conditions” and “it remains unclear as to when the facility will reopen or whether it will reopen at all.”

According to the letter, while the plant does not expect to shut down fully until Oct. 1, “employees will exit the facility throughout the 60-day plant closing period as the facility is placed into an idle state.”

The letter continued, “to be eligible for pay, employees will be expected to, and are required to, continue working through their individual exit date.”

Ruse explained that the plant’s manufactured building material — oriented strand board — is produced by the company for residential construction and is not in demand because of other economic issues.

“The employees have done a good job and this is not a reflection of their merits; we appreciate what they have done,” Ruse stated.

Switchboard operators at the plant stated that Neil Belt would not be commenting on the closure and referred The Register-Herald to Ruse.

Fayette County Commissioners were unavailable Tuesday for comment about how the closure will affect the county’s economic bottom line.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com

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