Kimberly-Clark: 'Outage' at Chester; no final decision yet (UPDATE)

UPDATE: "Kimberly-Clark's Chester, PA, mill is currently not part of our recently announced tissue restructuring plan, and no decision has been made to close the facility," says Kimberly-Clark spokeswoman Kay Jackson.

"Mill management and union leadership are currently working on a cost improvement plan and will continue to do so for many months... We are constantly looking at ways to improve this mill's effectiveness and competitiveness.

"In the meantime, the mill is currently down for a major site maintenance outage and is in no way related to rumors of a mill closure.  The mill is scheduled to complete its maintenance next week and be back into service with full operational capability."

EARLIER: Two months after Kimberly-Clark Corp. said it planned to cut up to $600 million in pretax expenses by shutting or selling paper plants, more than 800 workers at Kimberly-Clark's former Scott Paper Co. mill which towers above the Delaware at 2d and Welsh Sts. in Chester are waiting for word on their fate.

Officials at Kimberly-Clark's Texas headquarters were in meetings and unavailable for comment this morning. Officers of the plant's United Steelworkers union local in Chester were out of the office. The company's toilet paper and other products face competition from cheap imports from China and other countries.

Will the plant stay open, or change owners? Chester spokeswoman Emily H. Harris tells me Mayor Wendell N. Butler Jr. hasn't been told of any change at this point.