NEWBERG, Ore., April 19, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Community members, pulp and paper workers, and economic-justice advocates will hold a picket April 24 to demand that WestRock, owners of the Newberg paper mill, make the idled property available for sale to buyers who would restart the mill.
The Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers (AWPPW) decries WestRock’s stance on the fate of the mill, which WestRock owns but stopped production on just two weeks after buying, in 2015. WestRock looks to sell the mill, but in a bid to avoid competition will not sell to a buyer that would reopen it for production. The AWPPW sees an opportunity for the return of good-paying jobs to the community. They come together with supporters and Newberg residents to picket at the site of the mill, 1301 Wynooski Street, Newberg, at 2pm, April 24. AWPPW President Greg Pallesen made the following statement today:
“WestRock buying their competitor’s plant sites then closing those very same plant sites then refusing to sell the sites to anyone who would restart the sites should be illegal; it certainly is not ethical. WestRock is not a good corporate neighbor.”
Further alarming citizens and activists is WestRock’s initiation, in January, of an acquisition of competitor KapStone. More opportunity for WestRock to control supply for its advantage by closing mills it purchases means more towns on edge over whether their economic livelihood is soon to be cut off.
Joining the picket will be trade justice advocates, of Oregon Fair Trade Campaign, who say the trade-policy-enabled flight of the pulp and paper industry to the Global South leaves environments overall over-impacted, and leaves economies, in rich and poor countries, in condition of exploitation, not middle-class growth.
The AWPPW is affiliated with the United Brotherhood of the Carpenters & Joiners of America (UBC).
The AWPPW is a member of the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign is a grassroots coalition of labor, environmental, and human rights organizations working together to fight the expansion of NAFTA and NAFTA-style free trade agreements and promoting a positive vision for trade policy. It counts among its members the AWPPW and is an affiliate of Citizens Trade Campaign.
Contact: Greg Pallesen AWPPW President