Potlatch employees with specific skills in Brainerd may apply for jobs at the Cloquet plant.
Stephanie Hall, communications manager for Sappi Fine Paper North America, confirmed the corporation began taking applications Tuesday and will have job interviews in Brainerd during the weeks of April 15 and April 22. The deadline for job applications is April 19.
Hall said Sappi is targeting existing Potlatch employees for the job applications.
Brainerd plant workers are targeted further to those with experience or skills in four areas -- power and recovery, paper making -- including off-machine coating, calendar operations and maintenance.
Sappi managers were on-site at the Cloquet plant today and Wednesday to disclose new terms and conditions for employment with workers there. Hall said the system is the same for both Cloquet and Brainerd employees in terms of applications and interviews.
Sappi's plan is to maintain or exceed current pay levels, Hall said. Pay typically covered a range from $14.50 to $25 per hour. But Hall said there will be a reduction in how many levels of pay are offered.
Pay levels were based on a combination of longevity and skill levels. Another change will come in benefits as employees will now contribute 20 percent to dental and medical premiums. Previously there was no employee contribution.
Just after the sale agreement was announced between Potlatch and Sappi Limited, Sappi stated it planned to reopen negotiations and was looking for a more flexible union contract.
In the agreement, Sappi purchased the Cloquet plant and its assets. The Brainerd plant is expected to close in less than 60 days. The sale is expected to be finalized in mid- to late-May.
Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union represents union workers in Cloquet and Brainerd. The Cloquet mill had 1,100 jobs. After the sale was announced, Sappi told workers in Cloquet they had to reapply for their jobs.
Hall said Sappi's intention is to gain employees from the existing work force. Sappi anticipates there will be a reduction in jobs at the Cloquet plant, Hall said.
Cloquet, with a population of 11,201, is located about 86 miles northeast of Brainerd. A typical drive from Brainerd to Cloquet can take two hours.
Cloquet's population grew by 2.9 percent in the last census while Brainerd grew by 6.7 percent.
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