The safety conference room was packed to the gills with Salary and Hourly Employees and their spouse's to find out what programs are being provided by the county to get workers back to work. One ironic thing in this process was the presenter was Sandy Neal, the ex-Pulp Mill Manager for Louisiana Pacific! How to apply for unemployment was covered by Anne Crossan. Steve Hughes covered training, resume writing, relocation assistance and stuff like that. Linda Cohen from Coast Central offered services on what to do with our 401k plans, and Sandy covered information for counseling, technical assistance and small business management. Amy Brewer from the Humboldt County Personnel office explained the process to apply for County jobs.
The County is the largest employer in the area with 1,900 on payroll. If unemployment locally hits 10% (Most likely will be by next month) the tax base will take a pounding and there will be county budget cuts in the future. Not a good option.
The Response team put out at least 19 pieces of literature to consider in less than 2 hours and I felt it was kind of overwhelming for some of the workers. But it was better than going out of work naked in knowledge.
One of the issues that the Response team could not answer was the status of the workers. There are programs available to workers if they are permanently laid off for long term re-training, that are not available if this turns out to be a short term lay-off. As union president, I have contacted counsel to give us an answer soon. I will see what options workers have to re-locate to other pulp mills or union affiliates.
Could be a long winter. Long and cold.
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