"Any time you lose jobs it impacts the community," said City Administrator Allan Muncy Tuesday evening. "And the loss of 29 jobs in a community our size is a pretty good impact."
ConAgra Plant Manager Pat Baumberger announced Tuesday evening during the City Council Meeting that ConAgra is eliminating 29 jobs.
"Over the last three years our volumes have gone down about 35 percent due to some different factors—economics, marketing changes, price increases, etc.," said Baumberger. "It has nothing to do with our performance. After all of the loss, however, we have had to look at a different way of running our business in Macon."
According to Baumberger, the plant is currently running three to four lines three days a week, and will switch to running three lines four to five days a week depending on external demand effective July 29.
"This decision is very difficult for the company, very difficult for Pat and very difficult for families that are affected," said Economic Development Director Denise Bennett. "But in the end it is a good decision for the facility as a whole because it will make it stronger. And it's better to have the company here and successful and lose 29 jobs verse losing all of the jobs because it is unsuccessful."
Baumberger says the company just had a capital project approved for a little more than $3 million that will add new equipment making the plant more versatile and able to make more products.
"I have no concerns of the plant closing here in Macon," said Baumberger. "Long term I think we are stable. Our volume has just been down so it is something I have been contemplating for awhile."
Laid off employees have already been informed and will be contacted by the Department of Workforce Development.
"They will speak with the affected individuals and let them know what their options are for unemployment benefits," said Bennett. "We do not have big companies that can absorb that amount of people quickly, but we do have a lot of small companies and we are working with them now. We are very hopeful that they will be absorbed here locally and be able to move forward."