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70 employees to be laid off as part of Wisconsin Rapids Sonoco closure

WISCONSIN RAPIDS (From news reports) -- Following a report in November that Sonoco would discontinue its tube and core operations at its facility at 800 Fremont St., the company announced Tuesday that 70 employees would be laid off as part of the closure.

In a letter to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Karyn Parker, regional human resources manager at Sonoco, said Sonoco Wisconsin Cores LLC is permanently closing its facility at 800 Fremont St. She said the company expects there will be 70 affected employees as part of the closure, and the facility is part of a union and does have bumping rights.

Layoffs are expected to begin March 31, Parker said.

Christy Thompson, Sonoco's global marketing and communications representative, confirmed in November the company told its employees Nov. 17 about the decision to shut down operations.

Thompson said the decision was driven by inflation, as well as "excess machine and facility capacity" throughout the organization. Thompson said the company contacted all "stakeholders" and shared the news with them.

"We constantly review our operating footprint to make sure our production structure effectively supports our overall business goals and our customer demands," Thompson said. "When changes need to be made, we communicate those to all impacted stakeholders, beginning with our extremely valued employee base."

Sonoco, a global provider of packaging products purchased Corenso Holdings America in 2019 for $110 million. The plant at 800 Fremont St. converts recycled paper into circular cardboard cores, coreboard and chipboard. The company also operates within the former Verso paper mill producing uncoated recycled board for a variety of products.

According to Sonoco's website, the company operates at multiple locations in Wisconsin Rapids, including on Tenth Avenue North, First Avenue North, Third Avenue North and Fremont Street.

Thompson was asked in November if affected workers are able to transfer to other positions within the company, and if any other local locations would be impacted. Thompson said there was no additional information available at that time.

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