Former Georgia Pacific Workers Rally For Answers And Options In Duluth

By KBJR News 1

October 21, 2012 Updated Oct 21, 2012 at 10:29 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)
The Georgia Pacific Plant on Duluth's Railroad Street closed on Friday, leaving about 140 people without work.
Glenn Jackson spent 21 years there and says it was a great place to work.

"Yeah, it was a good place. Everybody liked working down here. We even got along with our supervisors." said Jackson.

Jackson is one of the lucky ones; he was able to retire.
For those not that lucky, he held a rally outside the shuttered plant on Sunday.
The rally's goal was to get Congressman Chip Cravaack to speak.

"We just want him to talk to us and tell us what's going on. Tell us why this place closed if he knows. If he doesn't, that's fine." said Jackson.

Jackson states that Minnesota's senators and governor have talked to the laid off workers.
So has Duluth's mayor and Congressman Cravaack's opponent, Rick Nolan.
Jackson's first statement at the rally, however, was that the event was not to support Nolan.
The congressman wasn't there but campaign advisor Ben Golnik was.
Golnik claims part of Cravaack's solution to the jobs lost is to bring different ones to the region like those that could come with non–ferrous mining on the Range.

"There are prospects on the Iron Range and the hope is if we can get the country back on track with comprehensive tax reform and get the economy moving again, that will mean jobs and opportunity not just on the Range but here in Duluth." said Golnik.

Glenn Jackson says some of the younger laid–off Georgia Pacific employees are already getting re–training help.
But, since the average age of most of the workers is 57, it's too late for most to go back to school and then to a new job.
He knows it's a long shot, but the best case scenario would be to find a new owner for the wood products plant.

"There are lots of jobs that people couldn't do and just walk in off the street and do so maybe some of these guys will get hired back if this plant ever sells." said Jackson.

In Duluth, Dave Anderson, reporting.