The echoes of change resonate through the Canadian packaging industry as Cascades Inc. announces the closure of its Trenton corrugated mill operations in Ontario, along with its Belleville and Newtown converting plants in Ontario and Connecticut. This decision, born from the interplay of market conditions, higher operating costs, and aging technology, will impact 310 employees, including over 100 Unifor members in Trenton.
A Harsh Reality: Market Forces and Operating Costs
In an era where market dynamics can reshape an industry landscape overnight, Cascades Inc. finds itself at a crossroads. With mounting operating costs and technology that has seen better days, the packaging giant grapples with the need for significant capital investment. The company's decision to close its Trenton, Belleville, and Newtown facilities reflects the economic challenges it faces.
Mario Plourde, President and CEO of Cascades, acknowledged the harsh reality of the situation: "The market conditions and higher operating costs have necessitated these closures. We understand the impact on our employees, and we are committed to supporting them during this transition."
Supporting Employees in Transition
As the curtain falls on these facilities, Cascades Inc. pledges to stand by its affected employees. The company will offer assistance in their search for new employment opportunities and work diligently to remediate the properties to industrial standards.
Unifor, Canada's largest private sector union, representing over 315,000 workers, is determined to ensure fair severance terms for its members. Expected to meet with the employer soon, the union will advocate for the rights of its members and assist them during this trying time.
Lana Payne, Unifor National President, expressed his concerns regarding the closure: "Our members have dedicated their skills and hard work to this company. We expect Cascades to provide fair severance terms and help our members find new employment opportunities."
Adapting to Change: Looking Ahead
As production shifts to other facilities equipped with modern equipment, Cascades Inc. prepares to record significant charges in its financial results. The company anticipates impairment and environmental liabilities of $61 million in the fourth quarter of 2023, along with additional restructuring charges of approximately $35 million in the future.
Government officials and local mayors have expressed their sadness over the closure and pledged support for affected employees. Meanwhile, Unifor remains steadfast in its commitment to advocate for its members, ensuring their rights, equality, and social justice are upheld.
In the ever-evolving world of packaging, today's news serves as a reminder that adaptation is key to survival. As Cascades Inc. navigates these challenging waters, the resilience of its employees and the support of their union will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the company's future.
In summary: Cascades Inc. has announced the closure of three plants, impacting 310 employees. The decision comes in response to market conditions, higher operating costs, and aging technology. The company will provide support to affected employees while recording significant charges in its financial results. Unifor, representing over 100 members impacted by the Trenton closure, will advocate for fair severance terms and assist its members during this transition.