The Biz Buzz

Get the most up-to-date news, insights and analysis of Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound business.

NOTICE: The Biz Buzz has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved The Biz Buzz.
Visit the new section.

80 mill workers to be laid off in Randle

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on Aug. 12, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
August 12, 2011 4:17 pm

Hampton Lumber Mills plans to lay off 80 workers at its Randle sawmill at the end of October, the company said today.

Steve Zika, the company chief executive, said Hampton is reducing the mill to 50 hours of production a week because of a shortage of affordable logs to cut.

Hampton’s mill at Morton is also on a 50-hour schedule. Lumber mills normally work two 40-hour shifts a week.

The company chief executive said competition from China for raw logs has raised the price so high that Northwest sawmills can’t buy logs and process them and still make money in a weak housing market.

Ports such as Tacoma, Olympia and Grays Harbor have been celebrating the freshened demand for logs from China because the log export business at the port docks is up exponentially this year.

Zika said what’s good news for the ports, however, is bad news for the lumber towns where local mills are having to cut back production.

The workers being laid off make an average of $20 an hour, he said.

Randle is located on Highway 12 in Lewis County’s Cowlitz River Valley east of Chehalis.

*
The News Tribune now uses Facebook commenting on selected blogs. See editor's column for more details. Commenters are expected to abide by terms of service for Facebook as well as commenting rules for thenewstribune.com. Report violators to webmaster@thenewstribune.com.