Saving of a Wisconsin paper mill focus of panel discussion Wednesday

One Day Stronger: How One Union Local Saved a Mill and Changed an Industry — And What It Means for American Manufacturing, a new book by Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, will be the focus of a panel discussion Wednesday, Sept. 29, at Ripon College.

The free discussion is sponsored by the Center for Politics and the People and will run from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. in Kresge Little Theatre, East Hall. Per Ripon College policy, all visitors to campus are required to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces.

The book details how, through the cooperation of labor, management and government, Appleton Coated paper mill (now named Midwest Paper Group) had been in receivership and was saved from being sold off for scrap metal.

In the book’s introduction, Nelson writes: “The ingenuity of our legal and political strategy reflected a new three-part model of labor, management, and government working together to revitalize a troubled industry and rekindle its potential, saving the kinds of jobs that helped build the American middle class in the first place.”

Others involved in the project are expected to participate on the panel. Soren Hauge, professor of economics, will be the moderator.

Nelson is serving his third term as Outagamie County executive, which includes Appleton and the Fox Cities. It is one of Wisconsin’s larger counties with a population of 181,000 and a crucial bellwether county in statewide races.

He oversees a variety of departments that provide crucial public services from public health to infrastructure development. He is particularly proud of the county’s award-winning long-term care facility, its model criminal justice treatment services program and its Outagamie County International Airport, one of the fastest growing airports in the nation.

He previously served three terms in the State Assembly (2005-2011) including one term as Majority Leader, the youngest in state history. He has a special interest in economic development and labor issues, in particular the pulp and paper industry.


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