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North Adams Mayor Says Crane Must Cease Operations After Violating Municipal Order

A sign that says "Crane" stands outside of a brick building
Josh Landes
The Crane Stationery Plant in North Adams, Massachusetts

Just over a week after announcing sweeping layoffs, the 220-year-old Crane Stationery Plant in North Adams, Massachusetts resumed operations today for the first time since March 18th. But North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard says the move violates an order he issued Sunday, which stipulates that the plant can only reopen if it solely works on essential business related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Plant owner Mohawk Paper has not responded to interview requests from WAMC this week. Mayor Bernard spoke with WAMC Friday morning about the latest developments, and his message to the plant’s 229 workers.

Tom O’Connor, CEO of Mohawk Fine Papers, Crane’s parent company, released a statement Friday afternoon saying “We are very disappointed with the current outcome for our employees and the North Adams community. We have worked in good faith with the Mayor and local health officials, including demonstrating the extensive safety precautions we have put in place and which the Mayor publicly applauded. Our employees, customers, and partners want Crane’s operations to continue and the Mayor is intent on stopping that from happening.”

The statement continues by saying: "Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order 13, the State Department of Labor Standards designated Crane an 'essential business' and permitted Crane to maintain all 'brick-and-mortar' operations, not just a limited subset of its operations. We are acting in compliance with that designation."

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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