PITTSBURGH, April 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) says the addition of Packaging Dynamics's Thilmany mill in Kaukauna, Wis., and Nicolet mill in DePere, Wis., to KPS Capital Partners LP's specialty paper project will bring investment and focus to mills and markets in the paper industry that still have untapped growth potential.
This new project will bolster the long-term future of mills in a sector where investment and focus on growth have for too long lagged behind the rest of the sectors of the industry where growth opportunities still exist.
The USW has often noted that there has been a lack of investment and focus in the specialty and technical paper markets and that has led to unnecessary job and market loss to cheap foreign imports.
USW International Vice President Jon Geenen, head of the USW's paper sector, said: "This project comes in the nick of time. Our union tracks market and trade data and has become increasingly concerned about this sector of the industry suffering the same fate as other markets that did too little too late to bolster their ability to be innovative and competitive in increasingly difficult market conditions.
"Like the former Wausau Rhinelander and Mosinee mills in Wisconsin that will be part of this portfolio, we believe the work forces at the newly named sites have talented and highly skilled workers committed to high efficiency advanced manufacturing."
The USW has been in discussions for months to develop the right structure that ensures that these mills will be among the most competitive in the global specialty industry and more importantly remain the centerpiece of the local economies where these plants operate.
"Our work with KPS over the last several months speaks volumes about the many benefits of using an approach where labor and management work together to create high value deals where workers win, enterprise wins, and the community wins," said USW District Two (Wisconsin and Michigan) Director Michael Bolton. "This is the model to restore economic vibrancy to our economy."
The USW is the largest industrial union in North America and has 850,000 members in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. The union represents workers employed in metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, atomic energy and the service sector.