Sunday, November 24, 2013

THE MILL

This is the place I've spent most of my waking moments for the last 34 years, the paper mill in Courtland, Alabama.

 I've been in  the boiler house all that time and it's where I learned to operate heavy machinery, produce electricity with steam driven turbine generators, trouble shoot pumps & motors, boss men around (like I needed lessons doing that!), control things from a DCS I/A system and multiple other skills that will be useless to me soon.

You see the mill is closing down. Not due to anything wrong with it or because the crew are incompetent; but because someone in a corporate office in another state who has never been in an actual paper mill decided that there was too much paper in the market and we were the biggest (and highest producing) mill around and it was easier to shut down 1 mill instead of several others.

Not only will this devastate the lives of  myself and my crew members but it's having a terrible impact on all the surrounding counties.

This is the only major industry in my home county. The schools have always had paper donated from IP for use across the system. That donation saved the schools $40,000 each year. Plus, there is no way to know how many students might be lost if parents move to seek other jobs. International Paper’s financial input to my county now is approximately $400,000 to the county’s general fund, $147,174 to road repair, $588,696 in school taxes and $235,478 in hospital tax.There's no way to recover from the loss that the mill will have county wide.

I'm 58 so I'll can suck it up and try to get by on my pension  until 62 rolls around and I can get Social Security but the younger folks are having to leave to find jobs elsewhere. Homes and cars are going up for sale all over the place but who has the money to buy them now that a large majority of people are facing unemployment?

Sometimes it's hard to look for the silver lining when all you see are storm clouds. They say "this too shall pass" but that doesn't make it any easier nor the future look any brighter. Thank goodness I have my health and a loving family.

3 comments:

Meryl Baer said...

Sometimes life throws us a whopper. It may take a long time, but you will survive and eventually thrive. Good luck.

Magpie Mage said...

Can you and the other mill workers get a petition to your state governor?

Vicki June Waters said...

Won't help, the
governor has already made pleas and offers to no effect. IP is closing and there's no $$$ from the state