Paper industry takes a hit in the Fox Cities

Appleton, Wis. (WFRV) - The Fox Valley was hit hard with job loss. 1,300 positions have been eliminated since August, the bulk of those in manufacturing.     

Three major employers have made some major changes to the local job market.  Toughly 200 lost jobs at Appvion in Appleton, nearly 600 at Appleton Coated in Combined Locks, and 52 at U.S. Paper Converters in Grand Chute.

"It was shocking," said Michael MacDonald, a former employee at Appleton Coated Locks Mill for 33 years. "At my age, 58, I never dreamed I would be sitting here trying to start all over again."

Outagamie County is no stranger to changes in the local paper industry, just look at the former New Page site in Kimberly, which has now become a development for the city in just a few years. The local paper industry is fighting against the rise of electronics,  which have taken away a need for paper.

According to MacDonald, since the closings former employees have found luck finding local jobs within the paper industry in places like Neenah Paper, SCA Tissue, and Georgia Pacific.

"I've got house payments, I have grand children, children, all of those things that I was looking forward to another 5 or 7 years at Locks Mill, suddenly that's not going to happen."

But a few questions remain, will these mills stay running or will the future end up looking like the New Page site in Kimberly?

Will their be paper jobs in the paper valley?

"People in Wisconsin, in this valley, they fight, they stick together, they get through it and we don't just lay back and give up," said MacDonald.
 


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