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Carauster to close Linden plant

Linden’s job market has been dealt another blow after a long-time industrial facility announced its closure on Tuesday.

Caraustar Industries, Inc., one of North America’s largest manufacturers of recycled paperboard, told employees at its tube plant in Linden that the plant will close within the next couple of months.

The closure will affect approximately 20 salaried and hourly employees.

“This was an extremely difficult decision. Carauster has suffered tremendously over the last several years,” said Frank Snyder, Carauster’s corporate human resources director. “We have just had to consolidate a lot of things due to the economic and business situation that we face. We are facing challenging times and we are doing everything we can to survive in this economy.”

Snyder said the plant would close sometime before the end of the first quarter of 2009.

“By the end of the first quarter, and probably a little sooner, we plan to close the Linden plant and transfer the business to some other facilities in the southeastern United States,” said Snyder. “We have one too many plants in that geographic location. We determined based on our information…to close an operation and the one in Linden was the most feasible.”

The two plants that will receive the workload usually completed at Linden will be Corinth, Miss. and Cantonment, Fla.

“We told the employees that if any of them had a willingness to work at another facility, to let us know,” Snyder said. “By taking the usual workload of the Linden plant and dividing it among a couple of our other facilities we will need to add additional employees in those locations to handle it. So we indicated to them if they had an interest to let us know.

“This is a great workforce in Linden. It has been a very stable, dedicated and very productive group of employees,” he added. “The plant still makes money. So there is nothing that these people did wrong that caused this to occur. In the last four months we have announced the closure or idling of three paper mills. We have also closed a number of tube plants over the past couple of years.”

The Linden plant runs one shift, five days a week, making recycled paperboard tubes.

“These are generally tubes that are used by other manufacturers. They are not the ones you see in places like Wal-Mart and Target. They are made for other industries that they use them in their manufacturing processes — for instance: paper mills and carpet mills.”

The plant has been in Linden for more than 20 years.

We are providing the employees at the Linden location with generous severance packages as well as opportunities at other facilities,” Snyder said. “We greatly appreciate the support that has been shown to us by the people of Linden and Marengo County over the years. We are just sorry it had to happen.”