New Albany city leaders form committee in reaction to possible P - WDRB 41 Louisville News

New Albany city leaders form committee in reaction to possible Pillsbury plant closure

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Last week, General Mills announced plans to close its New Albany plant -- a move that would affect about 400 employees -- but members of a new city committee say they won't just sit back and watch that happen.

New Albany City Council Members Scott Blair and Bob Caesar are part of a new committee formed in the wake of the news. 

"And you could see the concern on their faces. I mean, obviously it made it more real because these are people, our neighbors, our friends -- hard, industrious, working people -- and it's something that just happened to them immediately, so that shock factor is still there," said Scott Blair, a city councilman.

"We want to do everything that we can. From a local level, from a state level and maybe from a federal level, to keep them here in our community," said City Councilman Bob Caesar.

Mayor Jeff Gahan says the plant is one of the top five employers in New Albany. Blair and Caesar say the committee will reach out to General Mills and union leaders.

"At this point, it's sort of in an infancy," Blair said. "I mean, we're still trying to assess the situation. There's union negotiations coming up pretty quickly. We want to see what transpires there."

Roger Miller, who is president of the union representing the New Albany plant workers, says the union will meet with the company on Feb. 1.

"I'm using every avenue that I have to try and save our plant," Miller said.

Miller says he's met with Mayor Gahan and people from Sen. Joe Donnelly's office.

In a statement, General Mills said the decision to close the plant is subject to negotiation with union officials, which Miller says the company has to do by law.

"I don't know what they're asking, or if they'll ask anything, or if they've made up their mind, and there's nothing we can do," Miller said. "But I still have hope."

"No, I don't want to give anybody any false hopes, but we are going to be working hard," Caesar said. "I think the whole council and the executive branch, we're going to do everything that we possibly can pull out of our bag of tricks to keep Pillsbury in New Albany, Indiana."

Two people from the Mayor's office will also be on the committee.

If the plant does close, it would happen in mid-2016.

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