By now, you’ve probably heard about the massive textile industry collapse in the United States, the massive manufacturing and apparel job losses, the growing wage gap, and the growing number of workers without a college degree.
But if you’ve been paying attention, you might not know the name of the company behind the collapse, United Paper Products (UP), which was once the biggest manufacturer of textiles in the world, but now appears to be on the brink of bankruptcy.
As Reuters reported in February, UP’s stock price has been plunging for several years now, and its stock has lost more than $1 billion in value since its initial public offering in 2014.
The company’s stock has dropped from around $50 to under $1, and now stands at less than $3.
UP has been plagued by problems from faulty components to poor management, and a massive union strike in 2017 led to the resignation of CEO Gary Kline.
Kline is now serving a five-year prison sentence, and has said that he was forced to take drastic measures to try and save UP after the company was caught selling toxic waste.
But he’s been caught doing it all before, and he’s also been caught lying to investors and investors are still angry about his actions.
A series of articles published in the Wall Street Journal in early February showed that Kline was trying to keep UP afloat by telling investors that the company would be profitable in the short term.
UP didn’t make it out of bankruptcy in the first place, however, and it was only after the government stepped in to bail it out that it came roaring back to life.
Under Kline’s leadership, UP made an estimated $1.8 billion profit in its first fiscal year of 2017, according to a company filing from its bankruptcy trustee.
But Kline didn’t stop there.
UP was also using the money it made from UP’s sale of toxic waste to pay for renovations and improvements to UP’s factories, which meant that UP was in a position to pay off some of its creditors, including the U.S. government, as well as the UAW, a union that represents nearly a quarter of UP’s workers.
But UP has also been accused of manipulating the value of its stock, which made it seem like UP’s shares were worth more than they actually were.
And while UP has acknowledged that some of the improvements it’s made over the years have helped it to avoid bankruptcy, UP has denied that the improvements are necessary.
“We have always been a company that works hard and cares deeply about our workers,” Kline told Reuters in a statement.
“However, we have also been in debt, and that has led us to seek bankruptcy protection.”
UP isn’t the only textile company facing serious financial problems.
A group of textile workers in Kentucky have filed a class action lawsuit against the company that is now being sold off.
The suit was filed in federal court in Louisville, Kentucky, and alleges that UP sold out to a Japanese company, and UP failed to pay workers when it realized the deal would not work.
That same year, another company, Muffler, which is a textile manufacturer, announced that it would close down, too.
Muffer’s CEO, David Davenport, said in a press release that he had “decided to exit the company in order to focus on the growth of his other businesses.”
Muffers workers have also taken a $7.5 million pay cut over the past several years, and are being forced to work on the construction of new factories to make up for the loss of UP.
Mufson, which has been owned by UP since 2009, has also faced significant problems with its workers.
In October, Mufons union filed a $11 million class action suit against UP, alleging that UP failed “to adequately train, supervise, and compensate its employees for the years of hazardous and hazardous working conditions.”
According to a lawsuit filed by Mufon workers, UP didn, in fact, train them, but only after they’d already taken an exam.
UP also told workers it was closing down Mufones factories when in fact it was planning to expand its facilities, and Mufone workers told Reuters that UP told them it would only be able to keep their jobs if they signed a new contract.
UP’s bankruptcy trustee has been criticized for not taking any action to stop this company from selling off its assets.
A company spokesman told Reuters this week that UP has “an active bankruptcy trustee, who is working to address the creditors’ concerns and is in the process of negotiating with the parties in bankruptcy.”
But the company has been accused before of doing the same thing.
In 2013, UP was sued by a group of employees for not paying workers, but the company settled the case for $3 million, and told the workers they would not have to be paid if they quit.
When the workers finally went on strike in 2013, they took over UP’s headquarters in order take