timberland uk boots Clark plant closures to impact 600 local workers
“This is devastating news. We were hopeful last week that our region would be spared, and today we learned that we have not been spared,” Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson tells Action 2 News.
Nelson said this news is a serious hit for the Paper Valley, which has seen workers at paper companies losing jobs to shut downs.
“The last six months we have seen significant layoffs, and/or plant closures affecting now five or six plants,” Nelson says. “The question people are asking is a pretty simple question, which is when is this going to end?”
Neenah Mayor Dean Kaufert says the company’s decision comes down to saving money.
“They’re losing market share in the diaper business, which is what’s produced on Henry Street,” Kaufert says. “The feminine products that are produced in Cold Spring, it’s the restructuring, the need to be profitable, to make money.”
The mayor is holding out hope for the Cold Spring facility.
“In further discussions that I had with the company they confirm to me or they affirm they’re going to talk to the local union and see if there’s any ways that they can make this plant continue to operate profitable,” Kaufert says. “That means concessions, changes in benefits, things like that.””We will continue to be one of the largest employers in the Neenah area, and our North American Consumer business will continue to be headquartered in Neenah. We remain committed to this community,” reads a statement from Kimberly Clark.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker expressed confidence that the Department of Workforce Development will be able to help the laid off workers find new jobs.
“We have more jobs today than we have people to fill them and those are overwhelmingly in the Fox Valley, good paying, family supporting jobs that are very similar to the type of positions those individuals are in right now,” said Gov. Walker. “So we are confident that with our Department of Workforce teams, we will be able to come into that region, come into that community and the employers at those sites, and connect them with opportunities that are equal to or greater than the ones they have right now.”
In other dire news for the local economy, Bon Ton announced it would close several Younkers stores in our area.
State Rep. Amanda Stuck (D Appleton), released this statement:
“In recent months we have seen bankruptcies and plant closures across the Fox Valley, with good paying jobs leaving our community and leaving Wisconsin. I can’t help but wonder why we keep getting bad news of closures and layoffs if the economy is recovered and if federal corporate tax cuts will result in job creation.”
“My heart and my thoughts go out to all of the workers and families impacted by these mill closures our community, but thoughts only can get us so far. We need action at the state level to help stop the bleeding in our community. I cannot fathom how leadership in this state has pushed and supported a giveaway of more than $4 billion in tax payer dollars to a foreign company, but have done little to nothing to help the manufacturing industry and companies already located here in Wisconsin. Our Fox Cities Community deserves better.”
State Sen. Roger Roth (R Appleton) released this statement:
“Kimberly Clark was founded in Neenah, and has been an integral part of our community for generations. As part of a global restructuring plan, over 5,000 jobs are being cut and 10 plants around the world are closing. The Fox Valley makes up 600 of those jobs.
“These employees in the Fox Valley are hard working, highly skilled, and provide great contributions to our community. Our community must now stand together to meet this challenge, and my office stands ready to help these workers get the assistance they need from the appropriate state and local agencies.
“I’d encourage those affected to reach out to my office if they have any questions or need assistance in finding the appropriate agency.
“With the overall favorable economic climate in this state, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is at 3%, and people are getting jobs faster than ever before. For those who are affected, the Department of Workforce Development has a menu of resources and services for impacted workers including: information sessions covering programs like unemployment insurance, group workshops for job searching, resume assistance, interviewing, and targeted job fairs with area employers.”
Statement from Sen. Dave Hansen (D Green Bay) on the closing of Fox Valley paper mills:
“Today’s [Wednesday’s] announcement that Kimberly Clark is closing two mills in the Fox Valley and firing 600 workers is sad news for the workers and their families, for our paper industry and our state. It is especially concerning given that the closings come on the heels of Kimberly Clark’s announcement that they would use savings generated by the Trump/Republican corporate tax cut to fund the shutdown of these mills and to fire 600 Wisconsin workers.
“While this may be good news for Kimberly Clark’s shareholders, it comes at the expense of 600 workers and their families who now face an uncertain future in the state where the governor seems, not only out of touch with the true state of our economy, but who is also unconcerned about the number of good paying jobs that keep disappearing.
“The closing of these mills and resulting loss of jobs is especially troubling. Paper industry jobs are some of the best in Wisconsin. For generations, they have played a key role in creating and sustaining a strong middle class in our state.
“Unfortunately, the current governor, who can’t seem to give enough of our tax dollars to Taiwanese giant Foxconn to help workers in northern Illinois, couldn’t seem to care less.
“Rather than commit billions of tax dollars to a gambit that at best will help a small part of it makes more sense to invest in Wisconsin’s existing employers and employees, help local entrepreneurs from around the state start and grow new businesses and provide the education and infrastructure that will set Wisconsin apart from the competition. Doing that will not only help keep jobs like those being lost in the Fox Valley, but it will make all of Wisconsin attractive to outside investors for years to come.”