BUCKSPORT, Maine — The local Verso Paper mill will be idling most of its workers for two weeks in March as part of the company’s continuing efforts to match production with orders, according to a mill spokesman.
Bill Cohen of Verso Paper said Thursday the machines at the mill will be shut down from Monday, March 9, until Monday, March 23. He said most of the mill’s 756 workers are expected to be laid off temporarily, but some will continue working to keep the mill warm and ready to restart.
“This is not a mill closure,” Cohen said. “It is just temporary downtime.”
The curtailment is consistent with Verso’s announcement at the end of last year that it planned to cut back on production to match the orders it receives, according to Cohen. He said he did not yet know how many workers will be idled by the downtime.
“It is hard to give a number,” he said. “It will be most of the mill.”
Cohen said Verso’s Androscoggin Mill in Jay also will experience some downtime during the same two-week period. The curtailment at that mill, which employs 990 people, will be staggered among three of its four papermaking machines, he said.
“That mill will not be totally down,” Cohen said. “[The number of employees affected in Jay] will be far fewer than Bucksport.”
As with the Bucksport mill, Cohen said he did not know exactly how many employees in Jay will be affected because Verso officials have not yet completed an employee work schedule for the curtailment period.
Verso, which primarily makes paper for catalogs and magazines, also owns and operates mills in Quinnesec, Mich., and Sartell, Minn.