Zachry to lay off 28 workers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 4, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; HB Zachry, whose Natchez location performs capital and maintenance work for International Paper’s Natchez mill, will lay off 28 of its 53 employees Friday.

IP announced Jan. 23 that it would close its 52-year-old Natchez mill by the middle of the year due to a poor market for the chemical cellulose it produces.

&uot;Someone from (HB Zachry) human resources is coming in Thursday and Friday to help place some people in other locations,&uot; said Ronnie Killingsworth, the office’s field administration manager.

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HB Zachry officials &045; whose locations include Iowa, Texas, South Carolina and Alabama &045; would like to keep as many of their already-trained workers within the company as possible, Killingsworth said.

&uot;They like to maintain their workforce,&uot; said Killingsworth, who is second-in-command at the Natchez location.

But as of Tuesday, he was not sure how many employees would choose to move, since &uot;Natchez is home to everybody here.&uot;

Public affairs personnel at HB Zachry’s San Antonio headquarters could not be reached for comment late Tuesday afternoon.

Although Natchez’s HB Zachry location is not closing down for good this week, those at the local office are not sure when that closing could happen.

All they know is that IP must give them 30 days’ notice of the termination of its contract with HB Zachry. Meanwhile, they are finishing odd jobs and packing up their things to leave.

But one thing is for sure, Killingsworth said &045; &uot;I’m going to try and stay here until I’m the one who turns the lights off.&uot;