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620 employees temporarily laid off at Appleton Coated

COMBINED LOCKS, Wis. - Appleton Coated, a more than a century-old paper mill in Combined Locks, has temporarily laid off 620 employees while the company waits for an Outagamie County judge to approve the mill's sale to a new owner. 

However, the temporary layoffs could become permanent if the new owner decides they do not want to keep the employees.

Calls will go out to Appleton Coated employees on September 30th or October 1st to let them know if they will be able to return to work. 

"We're kind of confused and kind of left out here to dry at the moment," Ted Laha, an employee who has worked at Appleton Coated for 25 years, said.

Appleton Coated filed for a Chapter 128 petition back in August, as an alternative to filing for bankruptcy. 

It's more than just a job to some workers.

"It's heart-wrenching too because just like I said we all got to be good friends down here, good co-workers and it's sad you might not get to see this people again," David Gracyalny, an employee who put in three years at Appleton Coated, said.

Employees only had a few weeks' notice, but many have families they need to provide for. 

"I guess we're going to file for unemployment, and see how that goes," Laha said. "Some of these people here made a lot of money per hour, and when you go to a new place, that's not where you're going to start."

One employee says the Appleton Coated owners asked the state for help, but didn't get any. 

"But yet our state managed to make some kind of a deal with Foxconn that could potentially cost this state millions of dollars," Michael Macdonald, an employee with Appleton Coated for 33 years, said. 

For some, potentially losing this job is more than just a bad break.

"We need our state leaders, we need our president to understand that you can't make a living wage on $10 an hour jobs," Macdonald said. "You need manufacturing jobs, you need jobs that people can sustain a viable life on and raise a family on, and these are jobs that are being lost all across this country."

The Outagamie County judge will make a decision on the sale of Appleton Coated tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. The United Steelworkers Union will be rallying outside the courthouse starting at 9 a.m.

Local 5 will be there to bring you the newest updates. 

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