International Paper employee speaks about plant closing - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

International Paper employee speaks about plant closing

"It's like a death in the family. It's hard to believe," said the employee. "It's like a death in the family. It's hard to believe," said the employee.

A local community is still dealing with the news about a major plant closing. Last week, International Paper Company, one of Lawrence County's biggest employers, announced plans to permanently close its Courtland mill. Now, one employee is talking about what it's been like since the closing announcement, and what attempts the company is making to help them find other jobs.

The employee doesn't want to be named, but he described what it was like to hear the news that the plant was closing.

"It's crushing," he said. "It's devastating. It's like a death in the family. It's hard to believe."

The employee has worked at the company more than 15 years. He said when he and his fellow employees were told about the company closing its doors, it wasn't the news they were expecting. 

"We thought it was going to be a merger," he said. "The plant closing was the furthest thing from our minds."

Officials with the paper mill said the demand for paper has declined and the 1,100 people employed with the company will be laid off. This worker says the pain from the plant closing will be widespread.

"It's probably going to impact people from the Tennessee state line to Cullman," he said. "Winston County and Lawrence County will probably take a hit."

Since the announcement, Governor Robert Bentley has vowed to help the IP employees. The worker hopes he's able to save some jobs.

"Even if it works out and at least some people would be able to keep their jobs. It's a good place to work," he said. 

The plant is expected to close in stages. The first stage will take place in December. The second stage will take place around March 2014. In the meantime, the worker said he and his employees are on the market for a new job.  

"We just have to kind of wait it out and get my resume ready and look for jobs. If the right opportunity becomes available, I need a job just like everybody else." 

The mill has provided its employees with a list of other out-of-state plants where they can apply. They also have a team coming in to help them out with resumes.

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