Sen. Baldwin hears Kimberly-Clark workers' concerns

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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) - Kimberly-Clark workers in the Fox Valley met with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) about their jobs on Friday.

Last month the company announced plans to close Neenah Nonwovens and the Fox Crossing Cold Spring plant as part of a global restructuring.

The move would impact more than 600 workers between the two local facilities.

The meeting between the senator and workers at United Steel Workers headquarters off Midway Road lasted about half an hour. Many workers had questions about the efforts to keep their jobs here in the state.

Media was only allowed inside for a portion of the meeting. The senator tells us she heard some emotional, personal stories.

State legislators are preparing to take up a bill next week offering Kimberly-Clark a 17 percent jobs tax credit. The credit would apply to about 610 jobs. It would cost taxpayers $100 million to $115 million over 15 years.

Sen. Baldwin says this would be on top of federal tax breaks which the company would receive under President Donald Trump. Kimberly-Clark's chief financial officer said the tax reform passed in Washington last month is helping to fund the company's restructuring.

"There is vast sums of money being expended on stock buybacks, on dividends for investors. Now, we all cherish investors, we need investors to be able to grow businesses, but these have been choices at the expense of reinvesting in workers," the senator said.

After the meeting many of those workers expressed concerns about the company's decision.

"It's heart breaking. A lot of good people are supposedly going to lose their jobs. We've done everything that Kimberly-Clark has asked us to do and more. We're very profitable. Our products that we make are in demand," said Karmen Jones, a 37-year Kimberly-Clark employee.

Another worker, Dave Breckheimer added, "It's a company that is earning money, and I just don't understand the need to leave the valley."

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