Nothing but the truth

In Fitzgerald, about 350 people are waiting for an answer pertaining to their job status. So far, the answers they've received have been unclear at best and seemingly untruthful at worst.

Officials at the corporate headquarters for Delphi said last week that the company was re-allocating all of its work to other plants. The rational mind would then believe that if all of the work is gone, all of the jobs will be too.

Then, the Georgia Department of Labor said that the plant would not be closing but would suffer some layoffs. But on Monday, we learned what appears to be the closest to the truth.

The plant can't actually "close" because of a contract with a labor union tht does not expire for another 18 months or so. But the company can "re-allocate" the work and move it all to other plants. The Fitzgerald plant would officially still be open but would have no work to do.

All this corporate double-talk is insulting to the people who work at Delphi and who now have to make serious arrangements about the future. Three hundred and fifty jobs is a lot in any town and the impact will be felt even more in a town the size of Fitzgerald.

Representatives of the Fitzgerald/Ben Hill County Development Authority, the Chamber of Commerce and the Industrial Authority are to be commended for the approach they took to the matter. They rolled up their sleeves and went to work. They are trying to find options for those that face unemployment and they acted immediately. That's the kind of action that makes sense.

As a society, the mistrust that we have for big companies is growing, especially in the "Enron era". Nobody wants to hear a version of the truth or listen to an executive talk around a touchy situation. The people in Fitzgerald want, and deserve, the plain truth. Closing the plant is tough enough without trying to hide it in a loophole.

This should be an example to other companies of how not to handle a delicate situation. Remember that the plain truth may be hard to take, but it's better than keeping hundreds of families in the dark.

To contact city editor Florence Rankin, call 382-4321, ext. 209.

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