A Southern California papermaker who made a $2.7 million profit last year is now earning $1,700 less per hour, according to an article published Wednesday in The Charlotte Observer.
In North Carolina, papermakers making $40,000 per year earned $2 per hour last year.
The papermaker, who asked to remain anonymous, made the $2 million profit because of the state’s so-called “bathroom tax.”
The paper’s annual salary for 2018 is $60,000.
The wage gap between papermakers in other Southern states and those in North Carolina is a problem because the paper industry is so reliant on its own labor, said Robert Baskin, the president of the North Carolina Association of Papermakers.
“It’s a problem for paperworkers in this industry, and it’s a huge problem for the state of North Carolina,” Baskins said.
He said the state has more papermakers per capita than any other in the country.
The state, which has one of the nation’s highest paper unemployment rates, has been struggling to attract papermakers to replace workers with robots, and some industries have also been forced to lay off workers.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Trade has proposed a tax on papermakers and other businesses to pay for the tax, which is expected to raise $4 billion over 10 years.
In a report last year, the paperworkers union called for a wage tax on all industries, and the state legislature passed the tax in 2018.
But the bill died in the House.
In the Observer article, the company said it had not yet determined how much the state tax would cost.
It also said the company was looking at hiring more workers.
North Carolina’s wage tax is the only one in the nation that applies to the papermaking industry.
The proposed wage tax, however, would apply only to papermakers who earn $40 or more per year, so it could be a significant burden to paperworkers, said Bill Pott, a professor of labor economics at Duke University.
The newspaper industry employs about 3,500 people, and nearly 70 percent of them are white, he said.
“They’re disproportionately people of color and the papermakers are disproportionately people who make a lot of money,” Pott said.