Columbia Falls, Montana, USA, 04 June 2009 -- Despite significant cost-reduction efforts by Plum Creek’s management and crew to keep its Evergreen facilities operating, a lack of demand for products made at the Evergreen stud sawmill and Evergreen stud remanufacturing plant has led to a decision to close these facilities indefinitely on 26 June. As a result, 63 employees will lose their jobs.
A slight improvement in prices for pine boards manufactured at the company’s Columbia Falls sawmill is expected to provide sufficient revenue to continue to operate the mill as long as operating costs are also reduced. To achieve this outcome, the current workforce of 130 will be decreased by 23 employees, effective 26 June. The decision to continue to operate this mill over time will be based on ongoing reviews of market conditions and the economic performance of the facility.
Employees at these operations were told on 27 April 2009, that the closures were possible when they received Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) notice from the company. Affected employees will receive severance and outplacement assistance.
The Evergreen stud sawmill restarted on 04 May, operating one and one-half shifts after being curtailed since January 2009. The Evergreen remanufacturing facility has been running with one shift. The Columbia Falls pine board sawmill restarted in early March after a two-month shutdown and will continue to operate with one and one-half shifts.
“The company’s manufacturing business has been hard hit by industry turbulence over the past several months,” said Rick Holley, Plum Creek president and chief executive officer. “We have done everything possible to keep these facilities running, but improving efficiencies was not enough for our Evergreen stud operations given the current markets," he said.
“The housing market remains dormant for new construction, which is directly tied to the wood products we make at the Evergreen plants. Fortunately, we can keep the Columbia Falls sawmill running for now. We regret the difficulties these changes pose to our affected employees and their families,” Holley added.
Plum Creek is the largest and most geographically diverse private landowner in the nation, with more than 7 million acres of timberlands in major timber producing regions of the United States and wood products manufacturing facilities in the Northwest. In Montana, Plum Creek practices sustainable forestry on approximately 1 million acres throughout the western part of the state. For more information on Plum Creek in Montana, visit www.plumcreek.com/montana.