P&G sees a future in Albany - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

P&G sees a future in Albany

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Manufacturing jobs have been hit hardest in the recession, but Friday one Albany manufacturer said its not going anywhere.

Earlier this year Procter and Gamble announced they were asking 300 employees to consider separation packages. Friday they held their annual retirement dinner where some of those employees said goodbye.

Procter and Gamble has been here in Albany since 1978, while they say the tough economy has forced them to make cut backs, they say they're committed to Albany and its workers here.

Nearly 400 Procter and Gamble retirees and guests filled the banquet room at the Hilton Garden Inn. For 31 year veteran Willie McMillian it was like a family reunion.

"You have to be close to people because the idea of being a team, that's the only way we can work," said Willie McMillian, a P&G retiree.

He retired in 2005, but in the crowd were recent retirees part of Procter and Gamble's effort to give 300 employees a separation package. The company won't say how many chose to move on.

"We were very happy with that turnout and a lot of those people are here celebrating with us today," said Vince Falcione, P&G External Affairs.

While P&G's trimmed their workforce to about a thousand they say rumors that the Albany plant might close simply aren't true and met with retirees in a closed door session to discuss the company's business plan.

"We have no plans to close this plant, like I said this plant is very important to P&G very important to their paper business," said Falcione.

"It's considered to be an icon because so many factories are leaving and we just hope P&G stays around because there are a lot of factories that have left," said McMillian.

That doesn't mean there won't be changes, the plant continues to negotiate with its many contractors.

"Part of our strategy is that we're always looking at contractors who give us the flexibility to make sure that we can maintain costs and keep the staffing in order to meet the business needs and we will continue to always do that," said Falcione.

So they can stay competitive for years to come. Company officials wouldn't say Friday whether or not there would be more cuts to workforce at the plant, but they said there are more opportunities for them to better their costs and they plan to take advantage of them.

Procter and Gamble is Albany's fourth largest employer, but they're not alone in offering separation packages to employees. Friday R.J. Reynolds is offering 1,800 workers at its North Carolina factories buyouts to cut costs.

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