LC2 and I attended the rally on Saturday afternoon for the employees of New Page in Kimberly, WI who as of this morning have all lost their jobs.
I believe that the reason the plant closed is pure corporate greed. New Page wants to control and compress the market for coated paper (used in magazines, catalogs, etc.) and doesn't want any competition, so that the prices will rise because of less of this type of paper on the market and they will profit. I also believe that they had this in mind from the moment they bought the plant. Unfortunately this means the loss of around 500-600 family supporting jobs from the area. The plant is located in the heart of Kimberly--apparently the town was built around the plant.
At the rally, there were lots of area politicians--not surprising since it is an election year. The gist of the political speeches (we left after an hour and a half) was that the Democrats all talked about how bad this was for the city and vowed to do what they can to help the people of Kimberly fight this. The Republicans pretty much held up their hands in defeat and told the crowd there's not much they can do and that they should let the market work and maybe the plant will come back online. Interestingly, the group of Republican politicians there all left the stage en masse before the rally was over.
Now, I don't know how much interference any politician could have run on a private company to derail this kind of decision, but at least they could try and not give up and go home. It's stupid to even look that way in front of a crowd of about 3000 people who are there to support these folks in their hour of need. Geez, at least fight a little.
I was really happy to hear on the local news this morning that a group of now former New Page employees are on their way down to corporate New Page headquarters in Dayton, OH to see what they can do about it. Godspeed, my fellow AFL-CIO brothers and sisters.
All we hope is that the voters of the area keep this sort of thing in mind when they vote tomorrow and on November 4.