ROARING RIVER, N.C. (From news reports) -- Louisiana Pacific Corp. announced plans to cut jobs at the company's plant in Roaring River Thursday in connection with a shift in production there.
Breeanna Straessle, LP senior manager, corporate communications, said the company won't publicly announce the number of jobs being cut until all impacted employees are notified.
"We anticipate (notification) taking a week or so," she said Thursday.
"All impacted employees will receive severance packages, though we cannot share details on what's included.
Straessle said a job fair for LP employees losing their jobs is being organized and likely will be held in late February. She said other local employers will be invited to participate.
"Our Employee Assistance Program will also provide on-site counseling in the coming weeks."
The reduction in employment is resulting from the plant being transitioned from a fiber siding plant to a strand prefinishing facility, said Straessle.
"The conversion will unfortunately result in adjustments to our workforce, as prefinishing requires less manpower to operate. We've notified employees at LP Roaring River that certain roles will be eliminated following the discontinuation of the first press line," said Straessle.
She said sales of LP's SmartSide fiber-based siding, produced at the Roaring River plant, have continued to decline and the company decided to discontinue production of fiber-based siding in the U.S. by the end of 2020.
Straessle said LP's SmartSide strand-based siding is one of the fastest-growing siding brands in the nation. "To support LP's focus on prefinished strand-based solutions, we plan to invest approximately $10 to $15 million in LP Roaring River over the next few years to transition it," she said.
"We plan to complete the production shift by the end of 2020, shutting down press line one in late March and the second and final line before the year is out.," said Straessle.
LP officials initially shared these plans on a preliminary basis in meetings with the facility's 312 employees in November.
The exact timing of the production adjustments, as well as the timing and number of jobs cut in 2020, hadn't yet been determined then.
Straessle said LP is committed to caring for its people and is offering impacted employees the opportunity to apply for open positions at other LP manufacturing locations.
"Support through our Employee Assistance Program will also be available to all employees, and we are looking at additional ways to help impacted employees at this time," she said.
With almost 12 acres under roof on a 400-acre tract along the Yadkin River, the LP facility at the end of ABTco Road has an appraised county property tax value of $7.72 million.
LP acquired the operation in 1999, and in 2007-08 started manufacturing SmartSide siding, a rot and termite resistant product.
The plant has been continually updated and expanded over the years.