Gloster paper mill closing in December

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 7, 2008

GLOSTER — This holiday season will likely be a little less merry for many Gloster residents.

Last Friday brought an announcement from the town’s Georgia-Pacific mill that the plant will be closing in early December.

Rebecca Anderson, on the Gloster Board of Aldermen, said the pending layoff of approximately 280 workers in a town of about 1,300 will have a negative impact on the area.

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“Everybody’s going to be touched by the layoff,” Anderson said.

Anderson said many around town are trying to decide if they should stay in Gloster or move to a new town to find work.

“What can you do?” she said. “It’s going to be hard of a lot of people.”

And this latest closure isn’t anything new for Gloster; in 2002 the mill closed and did not reopen until 2005.

Georgia-Pacific’s spokesperson, Julie Davis, said over the next eight weeks mill workers at the plant will “wind down” until the mill finally closes its doors in December.

Davis pointed to a slowing economy as the reason for the shutdown.

“There’s less demand for the product we produce,” Davis said of the plywood coming out of the mill.

Davis said the mill’s workers will be paid for their remaining time at work and will be eligible for unemployment benefits. While no one is sure of the future of the mill, many are hoping for an economic upswing large enough to keep the plant running.

But When Davis talks about the layoff, she calls it an “indefinite idle,” not a “permanent closure.”

Davis said Georgia-Pacific officials will be keeping a close watch on the economy in the hopes of improvement.

“This is not a reflection of the employees or the facility,” she said.

And at tonight’s aldermen meeting, Anderson said she’s sure the closure will be a major topic of discussion.

“It’s important to a lot of people,” she said.