Everett, Washington, USA, 08 December 2011 -- Kimberly-Clark and union officials announced that talks with Atlas Holdings, a potential buyer for the mill, had broken down; as a result, the mill will close in early 2012.
The Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers, Local 183 and 644 issued the following response to news of the closure of the mill:
After nearly a year of ups and downs and the uncertainty of our future, we are extremely saddened to announce that the Everett, Kimberly-Clark mill will be closed shortly after the start of 2012. This announcement could not have come at a worse time for the families of the more than 700 employees that will now face a holiday season with no indication of what their future will hold.
The Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers and its affiliated locals 183 & 644 were notified early this morning that the mill will close in the first part of 2012. Last week, Kimberly-Clark announced the mill would most likely be sold to Atlas sometime this week and the “closure” part of the parallel paths would be put aside and the “sale” path would become the focus. At that time, Atlas began the process of handing out applications with the anticipation that a sale would be final sometime in January with a startup to follow shortly after.
Now that there will be no sale, our primary focus will be assisting our members find other work. Local 183 and 644 have begun the process of selecting peer support workers to assist current employees in finding and securing employment and the other training opportunities that may exist.
The fact that this announcement comes three weeks before Christmas is just another slap in the face from a company that has drug this sales process out to the last minute only to let it slip through the cracks. The inconsistent messaging by Kimberly-Clark throughout the year has caused significant strain on the emotions of our membership and now that they have announced this closure it will no doubt get worse. We are making sure that there are support services in place to assist our membership in this time of need.
While it was made clear that the mill will be closed soon after the start of the year, we will continue to work with the city, state, and our Congressional delegation to see if there is some way that we can get the negotiations between Atlas and Kimberly Clark back on.