Statement From Mayor Bernard On Crane
STATEMENT FROM NORTH ADAMS MAYOR TOM BERNARD REGARDING CRANE STATIONERY
The past week has been a turbulent and confusing one for the employees of Crane Stationery, their families, friends, and neighbors, and our entire North Adams community. Crane is an iconic American brand, one that has been built and sustained through the talent and dedication of the company’s employees in North Adams. My heart goes out to all Crane employees at this incredibly challenging time.
Since the initial notice of layoffs was sent to employees on Wednesday, April 29, 2020, the messages from Crane Stationery management, and from parent company Mohawk Paper, have been contradictory and inconsistent. This lack of clarity is not helpful to Crane’s employees, North Adams residents, or the state and local leaders, including me, who are prepared to bring every resource available to bear to in order to support Crane's employees and the company’s continuing operations in North Adams in the weeks and months to come.
In order to clarify the future of Crane Stationery in North Adams, and to ensure transparency and mutual understanding among the company, Crane’s employees, the City of North Adams, and local and state leaders and economic and workforce development agencies, Crane and parent company Mohawk Paper must take action to resolve the inconsistencies in communication that have contributed to the recent confusion. Three recent communications exemplify this challenge for the company and its leadership:
* On Wednesday, April 29, 2020, the management of Crane Stationery informed certain employees that “we have had to make the very difficult decision to wind down operations at Crane.”
* On, Thursday, April 30, 2020, Crane Stationery issued a statement that “Crane Stationery remains an operational business.” The statement indicated that “we have identified approximately 15% of the workforce who will continue in their employment and will continue operations of the company.”
* On Friday, May 1, a letter from Crane Stationery (dated April 29, 2020) arrived in the Office of the Mayor for the City of North Adams, Massachusetts. The letter stated the following:
“The Company has had to make the very difficult decision to substantially reduce its workforce, affective June 19, 2020. Exhibit A identifies the affected job titles and number of employees in each title. Remaining employees will continue employment temporarily; their employment is expected to terminate effective September 30, 2020. Exhibit B identifies the affected job titles and number of these remaining employees in each title. This planned action is expected to be permanent.”
Following receipt of the letter cited above I spoke by telephone on Friday, May 1, 2020, with the Mohawk Paper, CEO, Mr. O’Connor. Mr. O’Connor indicated to me that the timeline and information pertaining to Attachment B was incorrect, and reiterated Crane’s intention to retain those remaining Crane employees past the September 30, 2020, date specified in the letter. However, the fact the letter was sent further contributes to the atmosphere of uncertainty surrounding Crane.
Since the initial notice sent to employees on April 29, Crane’s actions have been complicated by contradiction, inaccuracy, miscommunication, and restatement of facts. I call upon the ownership and management of Crane Stationery and Mohawk paper to immediately and publicly issue a statement that clarifies the future of Crane Stationery in North Adams. Crane’s employees, our community, and local leaders stand ready to help secure Crane’s future. My door is open to the Crane team, but we all deserve and expect transparency and truth from the company and its management.