By Debra Smith Herald Writer
In this series, we’re telling the stories of what the Kimberly-Clark mill closure means for workers and for Everett, which has been defined by mills for more than a century.
Tim Morelli loved the people he worked with at the mills. Even if the work was sometimes tough or unpleasant, the people Morelli worked with were nearly family.
Tim Morelli started work at Scott Paper Co. in 1988, taking care of supplies delivered to the mill. It later was absorbed by Kimberly-Clark. Eventually, he operated a converting machine, which made folded paper towels.
During 12-hour shifts, he would inspect his machine and do everything it takes to keep it running smoothly, including trouble-shooting any mechanical problems. Paper went in one end and out the other came folded and wrapped paper towels.
He remembers well the day Kimberly-Clark announced the sale of the mills to Atlas Holdings Co. had fallen through. He had just finished a graveyard shift. His coworker had seen a sign posted outside about a meeting. Morelli figured it was announcing the close of the sale so he went home to get some sleep.
By mid-morning, he got a call that there was no sale. The mills would close.
“It was a devastating slap in the face,” he said.
Now at age 57, he’s got to start at the bottom of the ladder some other place; that is if he can find work.
Mill work was a family tradition. Morelli’s father-in-law Moe Whitney and daughter Alyese Morelli also worked there.
Big corporations view workers here as numbers, not people, he said.