August 6, 2008

Wisconsin Lawmakers to Meet With Paper Mill Union

By The Post-Crescent, Appleton, Wis.

Aug. 6--KIMBERLY -- U.S. Reps. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton, and Thomas Petri, R-Fond du Lac, will meet with local union leaders Thursday to hash out concerns about the imminent closure of the NewPage Corp. paper mill.

The two are slated to meet with heads of Local 2-9 of the United Steelworkers at 11:30 a.m. at the union office, 216 N. Main St. Some representatives from the international might appear as well, said Jim Dercks, a member of the local. The local represents about 475 workers. About 600 jobs in all will be eliminated.

Miamisburg, Ohio-based NewPage announced July 30 intentions to shut down the two remaining paper machines by Aug. 25 and halt production for good at the mill, which was built in 1889 originally to produce newsprint. Workers will be paid through Sept. 30. NewPage cited a sharp decline in demand for its coated freesheet product amid a tough business climate for its decision along with the lack of an on-site pulping plant, which put the mill at a big cost disadvantage.

"We want our mill for sale, that is if they don't run it," Dercks said.

Plans also are to conduct some informational picketing at the mill that morning, and also to hold a rally for the entire community later this year.

"We don't want to bash anybody, but we want our mill running," said Dercks.


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