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10.29.07

USG SHUTTING DOWN NEW ORLEANS WALLBOARD PLT IN DEC

Unites States Gypsum plant in New Orleans cutting jobs and shutting down wallboard production.

Associated Press - United States Gypsum Co. Inc. said it plans to cut about 50 workers at year's end when it stops making Sheetrock brand wallboard at its eastern New Orleans manufacturing plant. The company blames a national slowdown in new home construction.

The plant will still produce a cement board - a backing for stucco or tile - but its workforce will drop from 107 to about 57, plant manager Keith Fournier said.

The Chicago-based company is making cuts nationally due to the housing slowdown. Already, Fournier said the company has closed at least three of its 27 manufacturing plants and trimmed operations elsewhere.

Sheetrock production in New Orleans will end Dec. 15. Fournier said workers will receive pay through the end of the year, plus severance packages, incentive pay for reaching performance or safety goals and counseling services.

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