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Appvion cutting 200 jobs as carbonless paper production moves

A view of Appvion's plant in Appleton, Nov. 9, 2017. (WLUK/Alex Ronallo)

APPLETON (WLUK) -- A paper manufacturer in Appleton is cutting around 200 jobs.

Appvion, formerly known as Appleton Papers, says it is shutting down its carbonless paper production in the Fox Valley and consolidating production at a mill in Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania.

The move affects both hourly and salaried employees.

“Our consolidation plan is an important operational improvement initiative designed to enhance Appvion’s competitive position in the carbonless paper market,” Kevin Gilligan, Appvion’s CEO, said in a news release. “This move will allow Appvion to most effectively serve current and future demand for carbonless products and maintain our commitment to a market that we have been proud to serve since our company helped introduce this product 63 years ago.”

Appvion is also planning to move the sheeting operations at the Appleton Plant to a company-owned facility near the mill.

The loss of 200 more jobs is a blow to the Fox Valley, at a time when Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson told FOX 11 News the area has already taken too many hits.

"Since August the entire state has lost about 3,000 jobs. 1,000 are right here in the Fox Valley and most of them are paper jobs," he said, going on to say, "These are good-paying, manufacturing jobs and it's estimated that each of these jobs supports about five additional jobs in the community."

We spoke by phone with Jeff Landin, the President of the Wisconsin Paper Council.

He told us Appvion works in a difficult market, coated paper. He said , however, Wisconsin continues to be the number one state for paper manufacturing with 30,000 people employed in the industry.

"There's a lot of brown boxes that are showing up at peoples door steps and we make a lot of those boxes in Wisconsin. So 90% of our production is in markets that are, for the most part, growing," Landin explained.

Landin told FOX 11 those growing markets include brown paper, packaging and tissue. He said some coated paper manufacturers are trying to diversify into other markets.

"It's not easy. It's expensive and it takes a lot of technology changes, but we have seen some of that and we'll continue to see that in Wisconsin in the future," said Landin.

Nelson told FOX 11 laid off workers will be able to find help locally, through possible job fairs and training.

"I stand ready to do whatever I can as county executive to help them" he said.

The moves are expected to begin in January and be finished by the second half of 2018.

About 300 employees will remain at the Appleton Plant when the production moves are finished.

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