Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Paper price means loss of 114 local jobs

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RISING paper costs will force the closure of a Winnipeg manufacturer when the Red River Packaging plant closes its doors for the final time Dec. 31.

Local union president Charlene Matheson confirmed the closure will leave 114 union members out of work unless a new owner willing to keep the plant going steps forward.

She doesn't expect a reprieve, said Matheson, president of the Communications, Energy and Paper Workers Union, local 830.

"The company is for sale and if they find a potential buyer, they will stay open. If they don't, Dec. 31 will be the last day of work," she said by phone Monday evening.

Union and management are negotiating severance packages to wind down the business in the meantime, she said.

Red River Packaging, at 1570 Inkster Blvd., is part of a North American paper-packaging, manufacturing and distribution company based in Portland, Ore. The plant makes paper bags for restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores as well as colourful gift bags.

The cost of paper is rising along with fuel prices, so news that the plant would close was no surprise to the union.

"We found out about three weeks ago," Matheson said.

The company lists a total of 125 employees and the manager was not available for comment Monday evening.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 23, 2012 A7

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