For Steve Scarselletta, working at Finch Paper is a family affair.
"I have been here a long time,” Scarselletta said Tuesday. “My father worked here, I have two brothers who have worked here."
Forty years after joining the company, Steve Scarselletta is one of more than 600 workers at the Glens Falls paper manufacturer. A North Country economic pillar since 1865, over the last two years, Finch executives say they've seen a direct threat to their bottom line.
"We have lost tens of millions in dollars of sales," Finch Paper CEO Debabrata Mukherjee said Tuesday.
"Of course we are nervous,” said Scarselletta, who’s the president of Local 18 United Steelworkers, the union representing many of the company’s employees. “It really puts everybody in pins and needles."
That threat, according to both Finch's CEO and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, comes from overseas: in particular, paper companies from China that commit what's called "price dumping."
"That is when a foreign company sells their exported goods below fair value or below the price charged in their home country," said Schumer, who toured the mill Tuesday.
"It is at a price that is well below anything you can manufacture paper at today," Finch Paper director of corporate development Alex Rotolo said, declining to allow exactly how much the discounts amount to.
The practice, which Schumer calls illegal, is at least partially responsible for up to eight U.S. paper mills closing in recent years and a more than double digit drop in demand for American paper products.
"This sales decline unfortunately is not a coincidence,” Schumer said. “The playing field must be leveled."
So how does the senator expect to level the playing field? By urging the international trade commission or ITC to impose duties on foreign paper companies, especially those in China.
"Both Democratic and Republican presidents have let China get away with economic murder and that has got to stop," Schumer said.
The ITC has already launched its investigation. Workers are hopeful it will ultimately be enough to help a company like Finch, which has a $370-million impact on the region's economy.
"It would be devastating if something was to happen to this mil in this city and this immediate community,” Scarselletta said. “You never want to lose good paying jobs."
Source : http://www.twcnews.com/