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55 Jobs Nixed When Carthage Mill Closes
May 2, 2007 - Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. has announced plans to close its containerboard mill in Carthage, a decision that will result in the loss of 55 jobs.
During Monday evening's Carthage Town Council meeting, President Rick Bush revealed the town had received official notice of the closure from Smurfit-Stone last week. The company's notice says it expects the closure to be permanent.
"We expect that affected employees will be off work beginning on or about June 30, 2007," Smurfit-Stone General Manager Dan Truett wrote in a letter to Carthage Clerk-Treasurer Linda McMahan dated April 27. "With limited exceptions, the first separations must not occur until 60 days after the date this letter is received."
Mill Operations Manager Glenn Davis told The Banner on Monday that he and others at the mill were notified of the closure last Thursday. The company made public its decision to close the Carthage mill and another in Los Angeles the day before in a press release detailing its first quarter finances for 2007.
Tom Lange, Smurfit-Stone's director of public relations, told The Banner Tuesday afternoon the decision to close the Carthage mill was based on "a combination of things." He said the company hopes closing the Carthage and Los Angeles mills in conjunction with restarting a previously idled machine at a mill in Jacksonville, Fla., will provide greater efficiency and flexibility and result in yearly savings of up to $14 million.
The prospects of employees from the Carthage mill securing jobs at other Smurfit-Stone facilities appear small. "Under the current labor agreement, employees at a facility that closes do not have any bumping or transfer rights to other locations," Truett said in his letter. "There is no provision in the company's policy for transfer, bumping or reassignment for salaried office or management personnel."
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