Town Hall crowded with applicants for Bollinger jobs

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 8, 2003

VIDALIA, La. &045; Men and women stood in line in front of Vidalia Town Hall to get job applications for the Bollinger job fair held on Friday.

Applicants filled the tables inside city hall to fill out the job applications and could also watch a video tape on the company.

A table with pamphlets describing Bollinger and a benefits package were laid out to take while applicants waited to turn in their applications.

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Due to the large number of applicants, some stood outside under a blue clear sky to fill out their applications for jobs in south Louisiana.

&uot;There’s not a lot of jobs around here that don’t pay like they (Bollinger) are and offer benefits,&uot; said Eddie Schiele, a Ferriday resident.

According to Bollinger’s summary of benefits available at the job fair, some benefits offered will include a 401K retirement plan, a group health care plan, a wellness program, worker’s compensation, holiday pay, long-term disability, hourly short-term disability, paid vacation, and a vision plan.

Doug Taylor, vice president of human resources for Bollinger, said no jobs will be offered on the spot because the applications have to be reviewed first.

Bollinger specializes in the repair, conversion and new construction of small- to medium-sized offshore and inland vessels.

Bollinger operates 14 shipyards throughout southern Louisiana and Texas.

Jerry Stowers of Vidalia, a 30-year employee of International Paper’s Natchez mill, sat in city hall as he filled out a Bollinger application. He expressed sympathy for those losing their jobs at IP.

&uot;I feel so sorry for the young people,&uot; Stowers said. &uot;We have a lot of good men out there who have families to raise.&uot;

&uot;It’s been a good job for me,&uot; Stowers said. &uot;I’ve put two girls through college and I have no regrets.&uot;

IP will be closing down in June, and 640 employees will lose their jobs.

Rockey Morace of Monterey, who was applying for a welding position, said he found the pay to be a little low, but that was the starting pay.

&uot;They (Bollinger) said they’re working on giving a per diem,&uot; Morace said.

Taylor said Louisiana Sen. Noble Ellington is working on a plan to establish a seven days on, seven days off schedule for Bollinger employees.

Until a plan is worked out, Bollinger will not be able to provide any financial incentive for employees to move.

&uot;I think there are funds available but it takes creativity to apply them,&uot; Taylor said.

The job fair will continue today at Vidalia City Hall from 9 a.m. to noon.