Final Payday for Belpre Plant Workers

By: Cathleen Moxley Email
By: Cathleen Moxley Email

A plant that has provided local people with jobs for half a century closed its doors last week.

Tuesday afternoon employees who returned to the plant to pick up their last pay check.

Harlen Colvin started working at the plant in 1988 when International Converter took over.

And Tuesday was payday, which should have been a good day.

"It's a good plant to work at," Colvin said.

But he doesn't work there anymore, and neither do 56 others who all lost their jobs when the plant closed last week.

"I was their main man. I was a fork-truck driver in the back. I kept the place running," Larry Brandeberry, a former plant worker, said.

Brandeberry was just months away from celebrating 40 years at the plant.

"I spent over two thirds of my life here for these people, and I got me quite a Christmas present that I received," he said.

So now with the factory's doors closing for good, 57 unemployed people are all asking themselves the same question, "what now?"

"Now I'll have to draw me up a resume and go looking for a job," Colvin said.

"I'm looking at going back to school right now because the only thing I'm qualified for is factory work, and there just isn't anything out there right now," Kelly Lee said.

"I will probably look at taking early retirement," Brandeberry said.

Human resources director, Jo LeMoine, said the company has brought in work force development teams on a weekly basis to help employees find other jobs.

International Converter does own another plant in Caldwell, Ohio with some available positions that these workers can apply for.


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  • by Was Location: Illinois on Dec 25, 2008 at 07:08 AM
    Trust me, all, Pat is way off base in this one. The union and the union alone took this plant down. If it were non-union it would still be open and would employ even more than the 56 they had. This is a shining example of what union supporters with their heads in the sand miss out on. There are companies with greedy incompetents at the top, it's true; however, this was not one of them. Four people at that plant shut that place down. You can't just blame the leadership of the union though...they were elected and supported by the rest. This is truly sad because they could have stopped it.
  • by Pat Location: Belpre on Dec 24, 2008 at 12:12 PM
    Why do the Top Dogs of these companies make millions of dollars a year and they dont know how to save a plant from shutting its doors. The problem starts at the top, why are they kept in place at the top if they can not fix the problem. All they care about is the big check they are getting. They dont care about the workers and their families. Thats the thing we are going to hear about more and more plants closing. The Government just bailed out the auto industry why would they not bail out the small factories that are closing. Because once again it starts at the top
  • by Was Location: Illinois on Dec 24, 2008 at 07:20 AM
    It didn't have to happen. They lost internal competition battles not one to the economy. To large extent they simply negotiated themselves out of jobs rather than being realistic and doing the right thing in contract fights over several years. They had the power to avoid this and did not do it.
  • by Kat Location: Vienna on Dec 23, 2008 at 07:37 PM
    It's only going to get worse. More and more, we're going to be hearing about more places just closing their doors or having massive layoffs.
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