Dayton, state officials meet with laid-off Duluth Georgia-Pacific workersby Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio
DULUTH, Minn. — Gov. Mark Dayton and state economic development officials met with workers and company officials at a Duluth hardboard plant that's scheduled to close at the end of the month.
Georgia-Pacific announced earlier this week it would shut down its plant that makes a product known as Superwood, a specialty wood used in cars for visors and other applications. One hundred-forty one employees will lose their jobs.
Dayton says the average age of employees at the plant is 57.
"In your latter fifties it's still too early to retire and draw Social Security and Medicare, so it's really a difficult time for people," he said. "We're aware of that, and we're going to do everything we possibly can to help them, support them, and help them find new jobs."
Gerry Parzino with the United Steel Workers said there's a lot of anxiety among the workers.
"We're going to work with those members in smaller groups, to help them understand this process, and we want these families to get back in to the workforce and land on their feet," Parzino said.
State officials say they'll apply for additional federal benefits to supplement state aid. They also plan to work with the city of Duluth to find a new company to purchase the plant.