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Georgia-Pacific plant laying off 400 employees

READ MORE: Georgia-Pacific plant laying off 400 employees
On the local employment front, the Georgia-Pacific Lumber and Plywood Plant in Whiteville has announced it will be laying off 400 employees. The news is not good, and obviously has Whiteville residents concerned. Georgia-Pacific blames the layoffs on the slumping housing market. The company makes plywood and lumber, and said it will shut down the Whiteville facility by Christmas. “I saw a lot of shock, a lot of disbelief from the workers that are working there now,” said Sheila Williams, owner of Waffle International in Whiteville. She said a lot of Georgia-Pacific workers eat at her restaurant. “As business owners we know that we're going to lose business with a lot of our regular customers,” added Williams. Leroy Long of Whiteville said, “I know guys that have been there for about thirty years and it's going to be a sad time.” Georgia-Pacific has 60 plants nationwide. So far, the company plans to close only two plants - Whiteville and a facility in Gloster, Mississippi. Julie Davis, Georgia-Pacific spokesperson said, “These are very difficult decisions, ones that the company doesn't take lightly. We understand the impact that this has on the employees and the community, and we're doing everything we can to help our employees as we wind down our operations over the next 60 days.” A small staff of workers will stay on board to maintain the facility. The plant could reopen if the economy turns around, but that is a distant hope for current workers facing a grim Christmas season. Williams said, “I don't think we saw that coming, but with the economy the way it is - you don't know one day to the next.” “Georgia-Pacific was a great big help to Whiteville and this community but what are they going to do now? What are we going to do now,” asked Long. Unemployment in Columbus County is currently running at 8.5 percent. Georgia-Pacific officials said they will work with local employment agencies to help their workers find other work.

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What to do?

Does anyone know what employees should do about their 401k's since Georgia Pacific is closing and the market is going crazy?

What to do you ask?

This is going to seem awfully blunt, but here goes. The economy is never, let me say that again, never, going to "recover." Global energy production has peaked, 4 years ago actually, and the planet's economy is simply unwinding. We pushed our economy into every last btu of power we were producing, and borrowed at least an additional generation's worth based on growth projections that are never going to happen. The fall has just begun. Pull that 401(k) money, pay the penalty, buy some fertile land and start planting trees. Don't hem and haw about it while your balance dwindles, get started right away. Don't kid yourselves folks. This is a grown up conversation that isn't getting any airtime, and desparately needs some. Check out Peak Oil, Richard Heinberg, James Howard Kunstler, permaculture, New Urbanism, find your niche, and get to it. Please. Before the people depending on your money talk you out of any more of it!

Take Your 401k With You ...Or Live To Regret Leaving It

Jobs are being eliminated in record numbers and it's taking about 3 times longer to find another job. While we all hope the economy turns around soon, there's no guarantee that it will. In the meantime, it's important that you do what is in your best interest ... in other words, make it a priority to maintain control of your retirement savings. Leaving your money in the 401k of a former employer is VERY risky and I strongly advise against it. Want proof? Remember the 2 Trillion dollars that evaporated from 401ks last year? A significant amount of that lost money came from 401k accounts sitting unattended at former places of employment. Remember Enron? Hopefully the Georgia-Pacific execs are more scrupulous than the Enron guys, but is that really a chance you want to take with your retirement security?! Instead, I'd suggest that you roll it over into a self-directed IRA which would protect your savings and provide more flexibility in investment options. For more information on how to do this, just send an email to and ask for the FREE REPORT called "Simple 401k Rollover Strategy". Now, for anyone considering tapping into their 401k to cover their monthly expenses ... don't do it unless there's no other choice ... but if you must, then do so wisely. There is a way to legally avoid the costly tax penalties of accessing your 401k before retirement. For more information about how to do that, just e-mail and ask for the free report called "401k Smart Access Strategy".

Hello, Castle Hayne??

I bet the folks losing jobs in Columbus County would sure like to see Titan Cement come there, unlike the whiners of Castle Hayne.

I say.......

Government BAILOUT !!!! Why not pay GP to stay alive like they do the really big companies???? But maybe the guys in Washington do not have stock in GP so really they do not care.

Plant Closing

This should come as no surprise to anyone they have been cutting back hours for years, alot of the employees that seen the hand writing on the wall left and found other jobs, and also most but not all that worked there did live above their means and didnt think it would ever happen and also a shout out to those of you that thought the union was your savior. Also may we check the kickbacks that our county commissioners gave to GP with our tax dollars


I don't understand how anyone thinks a union can keep a plant from closing. Sure the really big, powerful unions like the UAW pulled it off for years, but not any more! And look at the price they had to pay, watching the American auto industry (and their jobs) collapse right in front of their eyes. The same thing happened to the steel industry. Union greed nearly put it in the grave. What's bad is that Obama and Biden are both big union supporters, and we will see all sorts of pro union laws enacted to help them gain membership right at a time that the economy is on its rear-end. As the GP plant closing proves, we need economic growth, not unions.

Lost of Jobs

First of all, Columbus County is not a sink hole. It's a great place. People please have some class when commenting. These just don't hurt the 400 employees but the families also. Hopefully things will turn around soon. Hopefully.

I love Columbus County

I am still thinking of retiring somewhere in the middle of the triangle formed by Whiteville, Tabor City, and Chadbourn, if I can find forty acres that hasn't been clear-cut for agriculture. The key word, however, is that I will be RETIRING, not looking for work. The simple fact is that the deck is heavily stacked against Columbus County. In theory, it could attract a major industrial employer very easily. Building a large production facility in the Eastern portion of the county (Bolton/Lake Waccamaw area) could draw on a large unemployed/underemployed work force from Columbus, Brunswick, and even New Hanover Counties. Build something out near Evergreen and you could attract labor from Lumberton, Whiteville, and Tabor City. Sidney could be ideal for a large factory or distribution facility, midway between Whiteville and Tabor City. Several factors, however, make any prospective employer look elsewhere immediately. First, is the lack of skilled employees available. That's not a slam against Columbus County - it's a simple statement of fact. The County has traditionally been centered on agriculture and light manufacturing, neither of which prepares you for working in a modern industrial manufacturing facility. Second is an aging population. That's a problem that has been plaguing rural America for thirty years. Junior doesn't want to stay on the farm and plant tobacco, corn, peanuts, or soybeans like daddy did. Junior wants to go to the bright lights and big city to make some money. (There are exceptions, and God bless them, because they're the only thing standing between us and the complete extinction of the family farm.) Spend time in Columbus County, however, and you are struck with the distinct absence of gainfully employed young people just starting out raising a family. There are no "yuppies," to use an old but accurate term. If they went away to college, odds say they never returned. Even if they went to Southeastern and learned a trade, most headed to Wilmington to find work. Now, some will argue that a large employer would keep the young folks at home, but it hasn't panned out that way anywhere across the country. Young people reject the idea of growing up in a small town and "going to work at the mill" just as quickly as they reject farming. They've been exposed to TV, and they know there's a big world out there with many more opportunities than they will ever see in Vinegar Hill. Third is the political base in Columbus County. It's a Democratic stronghold, and no major manufacturer is going to build a large production facility knowing that the UAW, IBEW, or some other union is going to show up a year after the plant opens to triple the cost of doing business....because Columbus County workers WOULD vote in a union at the first opportunity, and kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Fourth is a limited road system. There is ONE good highway in Columbus County, US 74, running East-West. The major North-South roads, US 701, NC 211 and NC 87 are all two lane roads passing through many small towns en route to a major market. The sad fact is that any shipment destined for an area outside the state must drive many miles out of the way to reach the Interstate (the proposed I-74 will eventually help that) or navigate winding two-lane roads that can be closed for hours in the event of an accident. No one will ever open that facility in Sidney as long as 701 is a two-lane road. So when you look at what Columbus County CAN'T offer, you can see why unemployment is higher there than in the state as a whole....and it's destined to get higher. Perhaps the county needs to re-invent itself? Brunswick County did, and moved from a primarily agrarian ecnomy to a tourist/retirement Mecca. Granted, the ocean made their job a lot easier, but could Columbus County do something similar? There's a LOT of land to build dozens of championship golf courses on. There's a lot of undeveloped land in the Hallsboro-Mark Pine corridor that could be made into a huge natural-wilderness state park. There's no magic wand that can turn the clock back and return downtown Chadbourn, Whiteville, or Tabor City to vibrant, booming shopping districts unless you attract an entire new population of residents and appeal to their niche marketing needs. The county needs to think outside the box, and realize that in a nation gradually moving toward a service based economy, providing the best and most interesting services may be the key to future economic growth.

I agree with everything you

I agree with everything you said except for one thing: it isn't the lack of roads. I-95 runs right through lumberton and it is a pretty big north/south interstate and it isn't that far from whiteville. Also if that were the case, how come wilmington doesn't have more industry. It has a railroad, airport, state port and I-40. However all of your other points are very valid.

Wilmington and industry

Beleive it or not, there is a good deal of industry in Wilmington; it's just tightly knotted and not spread out all over the place. There's a fairly good amount along the 421 corridor, along 23rd Street, and of course there's GE, which is huge and getting bigger. That said, your point is still valid. Wilmington should have more indsutry than it does, and the reason that it doesn't is based in its history and timing. It was a shipping hub for products from outlying counties sixty years ago. As the hub dried up, downtown Wilmington began resembling the current downtown Chadbourn. Again, a "re-inventing oneself" did the trick. Wilmington began to market itself as a tourist destination, and then a retiree's dream. (THERE is the danger you face if you do reinvent yourself and become a retirement Mecca. You will never again see heavy industry get in, once the geezers arrive. Witness the reaction to Titan Cement and the new state port in Southport.) So Wilmington, handicapped by size and history, missed it's opportunity to become an industrial center. It went from small, regional port to tourist and retiree Mecca fairly quickly. Oh, there's still plenty of room along 421 and down by the port, but the demographics in Wilmington are so different than the demographics in Columbus County, Wilmington would rather pass on any heavy industry now. They even have a resolution saying that they only desire clean, green, white-collar type businesses to locate here. To put it bluntly, Wilmington is too rich and too retired to want any new industrial plant. That's one reason that we have a small but increasingly permanent underclass in Wilmington, who will probably never be able to retire. Regarding your roads, that trip over to I-95 may not be far, but you are still basically restricted to locating along the US 74 corridor. You need more four lane North-South roads to open up the Southern half of the county. Let's face it, I don't care if you're talking about 701, 410, or Old Stake Road, the drive from Tabor City to Whiteville is only enjoyable if you're on a combine or just site-seeing. If you're working, hauling, trying to get somehwere, the North-South roads stink.

Good analysis

Your analysis of the situation in Columbus county is accurate. Until some people in Columbus county realize that open their close mind is the answer to solved many of the socio-economic problem they have, they won't be able to improve the environment where good smart people leave the area and the youth flees the county as soon as they can because it's nothing to do and gain for a county run by few special interest "good old boys" crew.

I work at gp in whiteville

I work at gp in whiteville and its not the economy that is shutting us down, the problem is Rex Heirs and Bill Battes(plant manager and assistant plant manager). They dont know how to run a plant. We are the 3rd plant they have run into the dirt.

You hit the nail on the

You hit the nail on the head. GP started going downhill the day they walked though the door. I worked at GP also and I would like to say that I hope that everyone I worked with is doing ok. I loved working with everyone and miss you all

Columbus County

Columbus County. It's just a bad luck area to invest in. Who's next on the list?

How fast it can all turn around!

Less than three years ago, at the height of the housing boom, Koch Industries paid top dollar for the company and took it private. Now, they're closing mills to keep GP alive.

There ARE no jobs left in

There ARE no jobs left in this county. What in the WORLD will these families do? And right before Christmas at that? We used to have a lot of industry here. Sewing plants and such. Thanks to DEWEY and RC SOLES we have NO industry. Thanks a lot you creeps. The "Godfather" strikes again. Get this freak out of office and Columbus County will grow again!

Why Not

Look to Raleigh? When many small towns, in the 1980's were losing hundreds and thousands of jobs, former Governor Jim Hunt led the charge to bring in new industry. While a lot of focus was on the Research Triangle, former Governor Hunt went on the road soliciting out of state and foriegn industries to relocate to the small "mill" towns. He put together programs in which the local community colleges tooled up to provide the training needed, by the unemployed, so they could take on the new jobs. That was called leadership. Let's not forget, too, former Vice President Gore's visit to Whiteville when he was touting the internet and the new age which would come to rural areas like Whiteville. Anyone remember his performance at the Whiteville train station? What happened to that? Just for the record, how is R C Soles responsible for this job loss? The housing market did not slump through his efforts. If you're going to point to DC, why not statr with Congressman McIntyre?

There Are no jobs

Get smart while you are out work! Read about Barney Frank! And you see who the Freek is! Vote for Obama and you will be calling him more than a freek!

Barney Frank has nothing to

Barney Frank has nothing to do with the condition that the leaders of Columbus County have it in. Barney Frank is way better than the idiots that run Columbus County. Sad, but true. People like you, that tell others to "get smart while out of work" need to watch how you treat others. You could lose YOUR job one day. Do unto others, my friend. I hope and pray that the citizens of this county will finally realize that they and their families are doing without and suffering while the political machine that is lying to them flourishes. Open your eyes people. Does RC worry about you? No. He could care less or there would be more jobs here. Barney Frank is the least of our concerns.

Barney Frank had a lot to do with it ! ! !

It may be true that Idiots run Columbus County.But Columbus County has alway had a histoy of the most depressed county in North Carolina.My family was vast land oweners in Columbus County over 100 years ago they got smart got the hell out there! Mabe you should do the same and save your family. Will be praying for you.

Quite True

as long as "Pit Bull" Pelosi is running the Congress with a heavy hand and no diplomacy, Barney Franks is not the big issue in Congress.


Yes....I will meet you halfway.