We salute IP workers on the last day at mill

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 4, 2003

The long anticipation of this day may have softened the blow somewhat, but we imagine that it can’t ease the pain completely.

Today, International Paper closes its 53-year-old Natchez mill for good.

But even as employees say goodbye after a week and half of cleanup &045;&045; the smokestacks have been still since earlier this month &045;&045; there is hope that a gamble on a new venture will reopen the mill later this year.

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There is no guarantee that the employee stock option plan will work, but local officials and union representatives, along with consultants, are working hard to establish the ESOP.

But we can’t think of a better group of people to make this project work than the employees who have remained loyal to this company for so long &045;&045; and who have been such an influence on the community.

International Paper employees have volunteered for just about every organization and charity in the Miss-Lou, from building houses for Habitat Humanity to raising funds for the Natchez Children’s Home. They have donated money, time and sweat to a variety of causes, and they have looked for little or no recognition for their hard work.

On this last day of IP ownership, we want to salute the employees who made the mill what it is. We can all hope that there is a better future for you in Natchez &045;&045; and that our community leadership will continue to work to bring new jobs to the Miss-Lou.