Shutdown Extended at Frenchtown Linerboard Plant

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. says it will extend the 10-day shutdown of its Frenchtown linerboard plant by another 30 days.

Union spokesman Roy Houseman says the decision, announced Tuesday, means some 280 workers will be laid off until June 1.

Corporate officials say the shutdown is not due to the company’s bankruptcy proceedings, but rather is due to market downturns.

As of Tuesday, it was unclear if the mill would keep its boiler in operation and continue receiving logs, as it has this month. But the No. 2 paper machine, which was shut down in November, will stay idle.

On Monday, Plum Creek Timber Co. decided to close its Pablo mill and possibly two others in Columbia Falls and Evergreen.

But Houseman says he remains optimistic that market conditions will improve.

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