A number of jobs at the Resolute Forest Products plant in Catawba are on the line after company officials halted production on one of the facility’s paper manufacturing machines late last week.
The Catawba plant, better known to locals as the former Bowater plant, has 750 employees in southeastern York County.
Company spokeswoman Debbie Johnston says the company will soon idle its Number 1 line, which makes lightweight coated paper used for printing magazines and advertising circulars. Demand has dropped in recent years as customers move more content online.
“It is all market-driven,” she told Rock Hill station WRHI, ”The market for that paper grade is very sluggish.”
Johnston says plant workers are sealing off the line– which spans roughly the size of a city block– while the Steelworkers Union and Resolute Forest Products officials discuss the appropriate number of employees to lay off.
Johnston says the actual number of layoffs isn’t known, “As far as I’m aware, there is not a definite number that has come out of that discussion, yet.”
Company officials don’t know if the line will be restarted in the future, nor if the machinery will be re-tooled to produce a different paper product.
The plant operated for years as Bowater, Inc., and then as AbitibiBowater. The Canadian company changed its name to Resolute Forest Products last year.
Andrew Kiel of Rock Hill station WRHI contributed to this report