Union at Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging's mill in Longview, Washington, rejects plan to restart PM No. 8; privately owned startup Mint Valley Paper proposed leasing mothballed paper machine to make brown paper towels

LOS ANGELES , April 27, 2012 () –

A proposal to restart PM No. 8 at Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging Inc.’s mill in Longview, Washington, has been rejected by union officials over contract issues, reported The Daily News on April 25.

Privately held startup company Mint Valley Paper proposed leasing the 50-year-old paper machine to make brown paper towels. The machine, which was mothballed in 2008, previously produced paper products with color finishes.

Longview Fibre officials notified Mint Valley Paper that they had withdrawn their support for the plan, said Mark Schneider, president of Mint Valley Paper, on April 25, The Daily News reported.

Officials of the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers (AWPPW) Local 153 objected to possibly losing jurisdiction of No. 8 PM, said Schneider, noting that he would have hired the Local 153 members but federal labor law prevented him from guaranteeing those 25 to 30 jobs to the union.

Officials from both Longview Fibre and AWPPW Local 153 refused to comment when asked on April 25, reported The Daily News.

While PM No. 8 is old, small and unprofitable for Longview Fibre, Mint Valley Paper saw it as an opportunity to enter the growing, untapped West Coast market for brown paper towels and napkins, which are now shipped from the East Coast or overseas.

With lower transportation costs, Mint Valley Paper would have been able to compete, said Schneider, who recently retired from Georgia-Pacific LLC’s Wauna, Oregon, mill after three decades in the pulp and paper industry, The Daily News reported.

The company now plans to look for another mothballed paper machine, probably in British Columbia, said Schneider. With the right location, asset mix and pulp supply, “we feel like we have a strong business plan,” he said.

Mint Valley Paper had spent $25,000 to $50,000 in engineering work at Longview Fiber and was seeking lower power rates from Cowlitz public utility district, reported The Daily News.

The primary source of this article is The Daily News, Longview, Washington, on April 25, 2012.

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