North Dakota Governor To Meet With Imation Over Wahpeton Plant Closing

Gov. Hoeven will ask Imation to help find jobs for 390 displaced workers.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Gov. John Hoeven says he and other state officials will meet Wednesday in Minnesota with officials of the Imation Corp., and discuss the company's plans to close its Wahpeton plant by mid-2009.
Imation announced the closing plans last week. The Wahpeton plant employs about 390 people who assemble floppy diskettes and do some contract work.
Hoeven said he plans to travel to the St. Paul, Minn., area and ask officials of Imation, which is based in nearby Oakdale, to help find new manufacturing jobs for Wahpeton.
Hoeven said he will be joined at Wednesday's meeting by officials from the state Commerce Department and Job Service, as well as Wahpeton Mayor Jim Sturdevant and Wahpeton economic development director Jane Priebe.
''We're going to tell Imation, 'Look, we want help making this transition. We want help keeping these jobs in the community,''' Hoeven said.
''They have three buildings there. There's 90 acres around it. It's certainly a good industrial area,'' the governor said. ''But it's very important that they work with us to get somebody in there, make a good transition, keep these people employed in the community.''
Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said Imation officials indicated to him that they would not reconsider their plans to close the Wahpeton plant. He said he has asked a member of his staff to take part in Wednesday's meetings with state and local officials, and hopes to find other companies interested in Wahpeton.
''I still don't understand what kind of business planning can produce the business U-turn that takes you from significant plant expansion to closing the plant in just a few years, but our attention must now turn to the future,'' Dorgan said.