Voices of the mill: Mike Hazen, 57, of Marysville
Shift Mechanic, 14 years
The Last Smokestack
Faces of the mill
More mill stories
- Federal aid to help 570 K-C mill employees find work (April 2012)
- Julie Muhlstein: Kimberly-Clark mill's end ‘devastating' (January 2012)
- Mike Benbow: 'Last of the big smokestacks' (September 2011)
- Op-Ed: Weigh in on the K-C site's future (March 2012)
- Pete Jackson: More than pulp and steam (September 2011)
- Talks begin on future of Kimberly-Clark mill site (April 2012)
- Voices of the mill: A strawberry princess turned boiler operator (March 2012)
Mike Hazen came home from work in 1992 to find a television news crew sitting in his driveway. He was working at a Weyerhaeuser mill in Everett and the mill had just announced it was closing.
Reporters wanted his reaction on what it meant for him and his family.
At first, it was devastating. But he found work at Scott Paper Co., and was happy there for a few years — until Kimberly-Clark took over. Concerned about the future of the mill, he took a job in King County but eventually came back to the mill.
He worked as a mechanic in the pulp mill. If machinery broke in that mill, it was his job to fix it. That's a tall order with some machinery dating back to the 1930s. It was grubby, hard work.
Hazen enjoyed the independence and the problem solving. About the only thing he didn't care for were the many work meetings.
The closure announcement came as a surprise.
“Crap,” he remembers thinking, “Here it goes again.”
With his mechanic skills, he quickly found work at Boeing. Now it's his kids he worries about. Their skills don't convert as easily to a high-paying job at Boeing. His son A.J. Hazen was supporting his wife and new baby with a job at the same mill running a machine. His step-son worked at the mill, too.
“How are you going to buy anything if you ain't making nothing?” he said. “Nobody has any disposable income.”
The family used to be loyal, only buying products that came from Kimberly-Clark. Not anymore.
“You want to leave — see ya,” he said.
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