GARNER, N.C. – Hundreds of ConAgra Foods employees are now looking for jobs after the company laid off nearly half of its workforce this weekend.
The layoffs came as a result of the fatal explosion at the Garner plant in June and will cut its production in half. While the layoffs obviously come at a tough time for those involved, town officials say their task is to now fight to keep the rest of the plant open and the rest of the workers employed.
"I don't know how it's going to play out," Mayor Ronnie Williams said. "I wish I had a crystal ball and I wish it was an operating crystal ball."
Tuesday night, Williams and council members will question ConAgra officials about their future in Garner.
"If I could control this crystal ball, I would say rebuild and put these people back to work,” Williams said.
Former ConAgra employee Frankie Pettiford is now spending his time helping others through volunteer work when he's not looking for job. He worked his last shift Sunday night.
He said especially after the explosion, it was difficult seeing so many people out of a job.
"It was kind of hard just to kind of see the people go out. A lot of people had gone out and found jobs, and some of us are still looking,” Pettiford said. “But we know everything is going to work out for our good. We believe that."
But he said the key now is to continue looking ahead.
"Nobody really knows what the future of ConAgra is," Pettiford said. "And we just pray and hope that it stays in the Garner area because it helps a lot of families."