Shaw will permanently lay off 267 employees at its Plant 70 in Bainbridge; the other facility, Plant 86 is not affected. Both plants are located at the Decatur County Industrial Air Park off U.S. 27 North.
According to a letter sent to City of Bainbridge officials, Shaw says the affected employees will be employed until approximately October 15, 2015. Shaw said it is attempting to find job openings at its other plants to which the laid off employees might be able to apply.
It’s estimated approximately 50 employees will remain at Plant 70 to continue limited operations, according to local officials.
Bainbridge City Manager Chris Hobby said city officials were “surprised and saddened” by the news.
“It’s terrible news,” Hobby said. “We had no idea this was coming.”
“It’s another piece of bad industrial news, and you have to start thinking things like, ‘What are we going to do? How are we going to turn this around?’
Rick McCaskill, executive director of the Development Authority of Bainbridge-Decatur County, said there are already discussions among local leaders about strategies for bringing in new jobs to fill the gap. McCaskill said one idea is to reach out to other businesses that have recently moved into Decatur County, such as Bainbridge Manufacturing, to see if they could use the skills of some of the workers being laid off from Shaw.
“We could hold an employee fair in which industry people could come in and meet with them,” McCaskill said. “[The Shaw employees] are a great, quality group of workers.”
Local leaders also plan to send a delegation up to Shaw’s headquarters in Dalton, Ga. According to McCaskill and Hobby, there are two ideas: 1) to ask Shaw to re-consider the layoffs 2) see if there are any other operations Shaw has or is planning that might could be moved to Bainbridge.
“We have to keep the jobs we have here and work on bringing in some new ones,” Hobby said.