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Kimberly-Clark open to saving Cold Spring factory jobs

FOX CROSSING, Wis. (AP) — Kimberly-Clark Corp. said Tuesday it is open to negotiating state incentives toprevent at least one of two of its factories in Wisconsin from closing.

Kimberly-Clark stated its position on its Cold Spring factory after a new labor agreement was ratified on Monday night by United Steelworkers Local 2-482.

The new agreement provides Kimberly-Clark with concessions aimed at keeping Cold Spring in operation, said the local union president, Dave Breckheimer. The company announced earlier this year that it planned to close its factories in both Cold Spring and Neenah Nonwovens, eliminating 610 jobs.

Kimberly-Clark said that, with the new union agreement in place, it’s open to negotiating over state incentives.

“With the ratified agreement, the company will advise the State of Wisconsin that it is now in a position to commit to using the incentives if the proposed legislation is passed and an agreement with WEDC (Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.) is reached.  These incentives, together with the new agreement, allow the company to better meet some of the challenging objectives of our global restructuring program,” the company said in a statement.

A tax-break package designed to prevent the giant papermaker from closing the factories was passed by the Assembly earlier this year, but not by the Senate. The Assembly bill was modeled after the incentives offered in return for Foxconn Technology Group’s plans to build a $10 billion factory in southeastern Wisconsin. The tax credit on jobs for Kimberly-Clark was expected to cost between $100 million and $115 million.

Gov. Scott Walker released a statement following the union’s ratified agreement.

“The agreement reached between Kimberly-Clark and the United Steelworkers is outstanding news, and we look forward to working with Senate leaders and the company to keep hundreds of good-paying, family-supporting jobs in the Fox Valley,” Walker’s statement read.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he planned to speak next week with members of his own caucus, as well as Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling and Walker, before deciding how to proceed.

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