Pleasant Valley girls track stripped of state title

Clinton company closure to leave 107 jobless

Evergreen Packaging plans to permanently close its Clinton plant by September 1.

The unexpected move will cut 107 skilled workers from the payroll.

It’s a decision that’s surprising longtime workers and the city.

Staffers were said to be meeting with union reps on Thursday to learn more about severance pay and other options.

A storm-damaged tree symbolizes turmoil at Evergreen Packaging. The New Zealand-based paper products company is ready to close the doors.

The move blindsides longtime workers and a city that would work to save it.

“If you share with us what the issue is, we’d like to have had an opportunity to try to find a solution to it,” said Clinton Mayor Mark Vulich.

Evergreen Packaging blames a challenging marketplace for the Clinton closure. The company says it does not reflect on the 107 employees soon to be out of work.

It’s the latest blow from tough global competition. With this plant closing by September, the city must find ways to market the property and people.

“In some respects, it’s plug and play manufacturing,” said Mike Kirchhoff, president of Clinton Regional Development Corporation. “We have a qualified, skilled, experienced workforce here as well as an existing building.”

Clinton knows about adding new jobs. It’s a friendly place to do business.

German-based RAIL.one recently unveiled a $22-million project.

Another company, Data Dimensions, doubled its workforce in Clinton this year.

These are reasons why Clinton is courting strong relationships at the corporate level.

“So often, plant managers don’t realize what the corporate situation is,” Kirchhoff continued. “They’re as surprised as anybody else locally.”

Evergreen’s decision came without warning. The company kept a low profile in Clinton by flying under the radar until it was too late.

“It’s a corporate decision that we’re frustrated with,” Vulich concluded.

Frustration that takes this plant to its final days in Clinton.