Plum Creek Suspends Operations at Kalispell Plant, 24 Employees Laid Off

By Beacon Staff

Plum Creek Timber Co. announced Tuesday that it is suspending operations at its finger-joint stud manufacturing facility in Kalispell for the rest of the year, leaving 24 employees at the plant out of work.

“This specialty wood product is used almost exclusively in new residential construction,” Hank Ricklefs, vice president for Northern Resources and Manufacturing, said in a prepared statement. “Market prices are depressed and don’t currently cover the costs of production. We reduced shifts in January, hoping to avoid a production stop, but unfortunately the market has not changed. We will re-evaluate the FJ Reman business throughout 2009 to determine if we can resume production at this facility.”

Employees laid off on Sept. 30 will be given priority if they apply for other Plum Creek jobs. Those who don’t secure jobs will receive severance benefits. The company says it will reevaluate the market at the end of the year and determine whether to resume operations.

Earlier this month, 35 workers were laid off from Plum Creek’s mill in Columbia Falls.

This week, the Tricon Timber mill in St. Regis, citing a soft lumber market, announced that it had laid off 40 full- and part-time workers.

Last spring, Stimson Lumber closed its sawmill in Bonner, putting 92 people out of work.

Related: Plum Creek Eliminates 35 Jobs at Columbia Falls Fiberboard Plant

Related: St. Regis Mill Lays Off 40 Employees