Positive News: I have been assured this by Evergreen CEO David Tsang. He said Lee & Man has every intention to re-start the plant in a window of 3 to 6 months into the future. He pointed out the fact that Lee & Man has spent millions in upgrades and have until recently paid their debts orderly. They have a cash flow issue that should be taken care of soon with a change of banks. Local vendors have been paid in full and some partial with what cash flow we have left. We have plenty of customers lined up for the future once our pulp goes from warehouses to customers.
Negative News: Evergreen has a shipment delivery that is being held up with a Temporary Protection Order or lien by local vendors who have not been paid in full. The shipment is estimated to be worth 6 million dollars. The vendors are owed over 2 million and are protecting their interests. Evergreen may also be in violation of the The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) and owe 215 workers either 60 days pay or 60 days work. And if this shutdown becomes permanent, Evergreen/Lee & Man owes 800 hours pay per our labor agreement, severance to many hourly employees.
Employee Dilemma: What do you do? If you take advantage of the services available through Humboldt County services and are in a training program to be re-introduced to the workforce in the form of a new job, you will have to make a decision whether to go back to Evergreen, if the Pulp Mill starts in the middle of your training, or try your hand at new vocation. And you have to make that decision right when the Mill starts up! Which Career will you choose? Quick, how will you feed your family and pay the mortgage? Going to be tough for the younger folks.
Insurance Dilemma: As of November 30 (Unless legal counsel find the Warn Act violated.) workers will be out of health insurance and can choose to purchase insurance through COBRA . It is kind of pricey: $558 per month for individuals, $972 per month Employee and Spouse or Employee and Child and $1436 per month per family. So if you receive the max unemployment amount of $1800 a month to live on with a family you have $364 to pay for rent/mortgage and food. That dear friends, is a reality check. Now you can search for a independent insurance carrier to bridge that gap while you are uninsured, but they must meet the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements of proof of insurance, so there is no unlap of insurance on workers with pre-existing conditions so they can be put back on Evergreen's insurance roles. I have been actively searching insurance carriers to meet these requirements more cost effective.
Employee Information: I have had many calls from workers and employees coming up to me asking questions. I have been shocked to hear how many keep track of things through this blog. So let me cover some easy questions to answer concerning unemployment paperwork: You are represented by the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers local 49. Phone number for the local is 442-2289. Evergreen's address is #1 TCF Drive, PO Box 218 Samoa Ca 95564. Feel free to call me with any questions at 445-3432. I am not working you know!
Upsate: Pulp Mill Dumped. Pulp mill company sold, CEO says move is to refinance. I hope this all is good news.