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More Workers Face Layoffs In Eastern N.C.

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WILSON, N.C. — A company has announced plans to shut down its eastern North Carolina plant. Meanwhile, a county that has been plagued by plant closings is working on a plan to bring new jobs to the area.

The Rubbermaid plant in Greenville will close its doors by April. More than 300 people, including Bob James, will lose their jobs.

"There's not many things around this area that pays around like we're making now, so it's going to be a huge challenge to find something," he said.

The plant opened more than 37 years ago. Rubbermaid took over in 1994. Ruby Toodle has worked at the facility for more than 28 years.

"Some people are going to have to relocate. It's just a disaster," she said.

The company plans to move all or part of the operation overseas.

"Orders had dropped. You could just tell small signs throughout the plant that we were going to eventually close," James said.

People in Wilson County feel the same pain. Last year, 1,400 people lost their jobs from closings, but now officials are fighting to bring some jobs back.

The city of Wilson is trying to lure an out-of-state pharmaceutical company to a vacant 130,000-square-foot building. The Golden LEAF Foundation just approved a $1 million grant to help. It is part of a $7 million incentive package. City manager Ed Wyatt said it could bring about 300 jobs.

"Wilson, very much, needs to have new jobs," he said.

Local economic leaders expect to hear whether the pharmaceutical company will move to Wilson within a week.


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