Georgia Labor Department ready to help Pactiv workers

lmorris@macon.comMay 1, 2013 

About 200 employees suddenly were left without a job when a fire broke out at the Pactiv Corp. plant Wednesday in south Bibb County.

The Georgia Department of Labor stands ready to help the workers at the Airport Drive facility who made food packaging, mostly egg cartons.

“We have already had a couple of the employees from the company come in to our office to inquire about employment benefits,” said Sam Hall, director of communications for the labor department. “The employees would be eligible for unemployment benefits, and if the company plans to rebuild, it would not preclude their eligibility.”

But each individual case “is decided on its own merits,” Hall said.

The staff in the department’s Macon Career Center already are discussing what can be done to help the employees and the company, he said.

Mike Dyer, president and CEO of the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce and the Macon Economic Development Commission, said he reached out to the company.

“I let them know the chamber is here to help them in any way we can,” Dyer said. “We are waiting for them, and when they are ready to reach out, we will be there to help.”

Pat Topping, senior vice president of the MEDC, said he spoke to Doug Faour, manager of Macon’s Middle Georgia Regional Airport, who has offered meeting space for the company if needed.

Topping said he told the plant manager to let him know if the company needs space to store materials, for example.

In a brief news release from the company, communication manager Tori Berndt said the company expects to use its other facilities and inventory to “help meet our customers’ needs.”

Pactiv, which has been in Bibb County more than 10 years, is based in Lake Forest, Ill. In 2010 it was acquired by Reynolds Group Holdings Ltd., and it is a privately held company, according to its website.

Pactiv is “a leading provider of foodservice/food packaging in North America,” according to the website. It has 12,300 employees and 55 manufacturing facilities in seven countries.

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.

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