West Fraser McDavid Lumbermill Cutting 75 Jobs

November 7, 2008


(UPDATED 11:50 a.m.) Employees at West Frasher’s McDavid Lumbermill were told this morning that about 75 of the plant’s approximately 100 jobs are being cut in a partial shutdown.

A company press release says that the approximately 75 jobs will be “implemented in stages over the next several weeks”. The company called the move a “market-related curtailment”.

NorthEscambia.com was told that some employees were notified about the job losses when they reported to work at 4:00 Friday morning.

“This was a very difficult decision for the company to make, but unfortunately it has become necessary due to high log costs and unprecedented market conditions resulting from continued poor housing starts in the U.S.,” said Adrian Block, general manager for wood products for West Fraser in Germantown, Tenn. “We understand that this decidsion is also difficult for affected employees, their families and the community.”

“It’s tough, especially right here at Christmas and Thanksgiving,” one of the affected employees told NorthEscambia.com on the condition on anonymity. “We all knew that this was coming sooner or later, but we were hoping it would be after Christmas. This is tough. I don’t know what I am going to do.”

That employee tells us that most of the layoffs were hourly employees and that most salaries employees will be left to run the mill’s production on a very limited basis.

The McDavid mill produces Southern Yellow Pine lumber and has an annual production capacity of about 200 million board feet. The mill has been running just one shift, producing about 75 million board feet.

West Fraser reported a lost of $2 million, or about a nickel a share, on sales of $848 million in the third quarter of 2008. The company reported losses for the first nine months of of 2008 $68 million, or $1.58 per share.

Pictured above: West Fraser’s McDavid Mill as seen from Highway 29. Company officials would not allow photographs on the company’s property Friday morning. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.


11 Responses to “West Fraser McDavid Lumbermill Cutting 75 Jobs”

  1. Wife of one of the employees - on November 15th, 2008 10:58 am

    As the wife of one of the employees who worked there for almost five years – I am not shocked about the mill closing it’s doors. What I am shocked about is how my husband and all the other employees were given this notice. West Fraser tried to come across as a family oriented company – well, giving a man 2 weeks notice that he’s going to loose his job (but he has to work those last two weeks) with no severence pay whatsoever – My family sure will have a wonderful holiday season, Huh? Thanks West Fraser for being that great family oriented company you claimed to be.

    If and when the mill opens back up I will strongly encourage my husband not to go back. Why work for a company who is going to screw the good people who have been there for so long by wanting to bring them back for lower wages than what they wrere making? Hopefully, he can get another job and when the call backs come he can tell them stick it!

    Loyalty work both ways West Fraser -

  2. employee on November 14th, 2008 10:38 pm

    I started as an hourly employee and worked up to a supervisor. I saw may things in my time from crazy schedules too crooked leadership. I thought things were bad when IP owned the mill but after west fraser bought the mill out, I knew the company and mill would never be the same. The leadership at the mill is inexperienced and doesn’t care for the employees. I wish all the employees good luck. I wish things would have been different. I hate to see such a succesful plant fall to the bottom due to poor leadership and just to place someone in a job because he is buddies with higher management. Again I hope all the good poeple find something better. It was fun while it lasted. Good luck. If I can ever help you know how to call.

  3. Straight talk on November 12th, 2008 4:13 pm

    West Fraser is a union mill. The union would have never agreed to pay cuts.

  4. Curious on November 12th, 2008 3:55 pm

    I wonder if anyone at West Fraser ever thought of offering across the board pay cuts instead of locking the gate with no advance notice? I hope these workers are able to find jobs with employer’s that have at least the common courtesy to let them know that they are being laid off and not cowardly locking the gates awaiting a later ‘press conference”. Those are the facts as I have read them.

  5. MJ on November 12th, 2008 7:16 am

    I work there. The truth is that all salary and about 10 hourly people are staying. We are restructuring the pay scale when we decide to rehire, the current pay scale is way too high for a sawmill in this area. Hourlies won’ t make near what their making now. All benefits will be reduced too. We’ve cut every cost but employee wages. And laying off and rehiring is the way to do it. I hate it for the hourlies but thats the way it’s going to be.

  6. Tom on November 10th, 2008 6:10 pm

    More folks want a job. Keep bugging them about openings and how interested you are.

  7. Best thing on November 8th, 2008 11:58 am

    Best news I’ve heard lately. Feel bad for the employees, but, the McDavid West Fraser mill was a joke.

  8. DES on November 7th, 2008 11:54 pm

    I have went and it has been 4 months and no one has called me back.

  9. Tom on November 7th, 2008 4:20 pm

    Want a job that has good benefits go up to Century Correctional Inst. to the training building through the trailor and housing area. One of North Escambia’s best kept secrets IMO.

  10. Willie on November 7th, 2008 12:59 pm

    McDavid (the town) was shut down long before this mill was there. There have been several mills in the community since the latter 1800’s . This is the first to be owned by a foreign country.It was purchased from International paper last year.The mill was built by Champion Paper co. which was bought put by I.P.
    West Fraser ,a canadian company , paid about 360 million dollars ($U.S.) for about 11 of I.P’s wood product mills in the U.S. The 360 milliom dollars came from a rebate from the U.S. government for overpayment of tariffs for Canadian lumber sold in this country. In essence ,West Fraser got the plants for free!
    Sorry for the workers ,not the company

  11. Jay on November 7th, 2008 8:31 am

    This is horrible news for the employees. “Temporary” or not, I don’t know of many folks that can afford not being paid. Pray for the quick return to full operation of the mill.

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