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Union Challenges NewPage Plan to Shut Down Kimberly Mill
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Menasha, Wisconsin, USA, 14 August 2008 -- /PRNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) is mounting a campaign to require NewPage Corp. and Cerebus Capital Management to reverse refusal of placing the Kimberly paper mill up for sale, instead of a permanent shutdown by 30 September that will devastate the community and destroy 600 family supportive jobs.

Citing rejection by NewPage of an incentive package offered by Wisconsin's State Commerce Department and the USW's willingness to renegotiate the labor agreement, USW District 2 Director Michael Bolton has declared: "Enough is enough."

At a press conference yesterday outside the main gate of the Kimberly paper mill, Bolton announced he has sent letters to legislators of the Wisconsin State Assembly, calling on them to convene an emergency special session to approve a bi-partisan resolution that formally urges NewPage to offer selling the Kimberly paper mill on the open market.

The resolution was introduced by State Representative Thomas M. Nelson (5th Assembly District-Kaukauna) last week in response to the NewPage announcement of the shutdown of the Kimberly mill on 20 July. Titled LRB 4480/1, Nelson has written Speaker Mike Huebsch requesting an extraordinary session for a debate and action on behalf of the workers. "At stake are the livelihoods of men, women and families who have lived and grown up with this plant," he asserted.

A citation in the resolution states: "The closing will directly benefit foreign competition and shift the lost American jobs to suppliers in international companies."

Bolton argues, "NewPage might ignore the cries of the families and the community by turning its back on them, but it cannot turn away from the legislature. We see this as a statewide issue that is not just about working family jobs in Kimberly, but also the future of jobs and the economy in Wisconsin Rapids, Nekoosa, and Green Bay -- every other town in Wisconsin that has good-paying paper-making jobs."

Jon Geenen, USW international vice president for paper industry bargaining, said, "We've run out of patience with NewPage's misguided business plan to restructure, eliminate and destroy working family jobs for the sole purpose of ceding market share to illegal China imports of coated papers. It's time to draw the line and fight back."

He adds, "If NewPage wants to exit Kimberly, let's give competitors an opportunity to make Wisconsin paper with a world class union workforce."

The USW represents about 4000 production workers at NewPage paper mills in the United States and 15,200 members employed in Wisconsin paper making operations.

Source: United Steelworkers (USW)


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