News of GE Appliance division sale has some Roper workers worried
LAFAYETTE, GA (WRCB) -
Workers at one North Georgia plant are watching and waiting to see what happens if their company is put up for sale.
Roper Industries is one of the largest employers in Walker County. Parent company, General Electric, announced plans last week to sell off its appliance division.
It is still not clear what the direct impact would be on Roper if the sale of GE Appliances goes through. GE has promised employees at the Lafayette plant it will keep them in the loop. But that still does not mean people in the community are not uneasy about the talks.
"Eighty-eight million dollars of capital investment for an expansion is a significant step," said Georgia Governor Nathan Deal in August 2013.
This time last year, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal made a trip to LaFayette to announce expansion plans at Roper with a new 1,800 square foot warehouse.
"It was my job and now it's my retirement. I was there for 33 years," says Linda Harris.
Linda Harris will be the first to tell you what the plant means to the community.
"So many people depend on it for a job," says Harris.
Including her grandson. He and more than 1,500 people depend on Roper for a paycheck. Possible changes worry Harris and others.
"I saw a friend of mine this week and she said that they were thinking about selling out the appliance to Electrolux. And she's very concerned too because she hasn't retired yet but she's planning to pretty soon."
Management with General Electric confirmed those suspicions of selling off its appliance division last week. A spokesperson said, "GE is evaluating a wide range of strategic options for our appliances business, including discussions with Electrolux and other interested parties."
"Who knows? They might shut down. And that would be terrible for LaFayette," says Harris.
Workers confirm to Channel 3 an email went out to employees telling them "it's impossible to speculate about the outcome of the discussions" but if a deal is reached, it will do everything to "provide that news promptly to employees."
"Other places, you know, you might work and then get laid off. That rarely ever happened at Roper. They were really dependable," says Harris.
Harris hopes it stays that way.
"I hope Electrolux is the same, if that's the case."
Even the Georgia Department of Labor reiterates these are just talks. It says any shake-ups at the plant are a long way off, even if a deal goes through.
In fact, the department announced Tuesday it is holding a job fair for Roper to fill 150 positions at $12 an hour. It will be held this Thursday, August 21st from 10am to 2pm at Ft. Oglethorpe city hall.