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Boise Cuts Could Impact Timber Industry Jobs

Posted at: 05/03/2013 5:42 PM
Updated at: 05/03/2013 9:41 PM
By: Alan Hoglund
ahoglund@wdio.com

When 265 employees lose their jobs at Boise Incorporated in International Falls in the fall, it could mean lost jobs for loggers too, according to a timber industry leader.

"It's a huge loss not only in International Falls but in the surrounding area of Koochiching County and elsewhere," said Ray Higgins with the Minnesota Timber Producers Association.

Boise announced Thursday that the International Falls location would be shutting down two of their four paper machines and a coating machine to cut costs and improve competitiveness.

Public Affairs Manager Lori Lyman said "we have to take steps to protect the future of the mill."

Higgins said area logging businesses supply Boise with wood. When the cuts take effect he said he "absolutely" expects job cuts in the surrounding area. He couldn't give us a specific number, but he said "they're [Boise] still going to buy a lot of wood from area loggers and hopefully any reduction that the mill does make, will be very small."

Boise currently employs 850 people at their International Falls location. The company said the cuts won't happen until fall, giving employees time to "determine their next steps," according to Lyman.

After hearing about the cuts, employee Bryan Hanson said "what am I going to do now? I have been stressing out over it all day."

"Me personally, have been looking everywhere for a job, making calls everywhere. I would imagine everyone else is going to be doing the same," said employee Jayme Steele.

More information about which employees will lose their jobs is expected to be available later in May.