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2-week shutdown ordered for Maplesville lumber plant

Production at Maplesville West Fraser facility has been halted two weeks, leaving each of the company’s approximately 114 hourly employees out of work and without pay.

The company announced Monday a two-week shutdown of the Maplesville facility, along with two others.

“These (shutdowns) were necessary because of market slow downs, lower lumber prices, lower demand,” West Fraser Human Resource Director Kim Foster said.

He added the company’s plants in Leola, Ark. and Whitehouse, Fla. were also shut down for two weeks.

The Maplesville facility is the town’s single largest employer.

“I plant to contact the company this week and find out what is going on and what can be done moving forward,” Maplesville mayor Kurt Wallace said.

Chilton County Industrial Development Director Joy Littleton said she had not heard from the company about the shutdown but also plans to touch base with company officials.

“This is not something that we want to do, but is something that we need to do,” Foster said.

The shutdowns add to the ones announced by the company in early March, in which nearly 2,000 employees were impacted by one and two-week shutdowns at plants in some of the company’s Canadian facilities.

The Maplesville facility, which was purchased by West Fraser from International Paper, produces dimension-cut lumber, such as 2x4s to 2x10s and 2x12s.

“This is a short-period layoff,” Foster said. “These employees will not be paid but they will maintain their benefits.”

Foster said the company’s plans were to restart the facility at the end of this two-week shutdown.