EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — At least 27 Katahdin Paper Co. LLC mill workers will get an extra day’s work thanks to new orders that delay the start of a shutdown that will run for most of April, company officials said Wednesday.
The three orders for a total of about 300 tons of paper will keep the mill’s No. 6 paper machine running for an extra day, said Bill Peterson, director of human resources for Fraser Papers, the company that Brookfield Asset Management pays to manage its mills in East Millinocket and Millinocket.
As planned, the furlough will start Thursday for most of the company, but No. 6 machine workers likely will work Thursday and Friday, Peterson said.
Company officials had said last week that routine maintenance and a lack of orders forced the shutdown and furlough of as much as three-quarters of the mill’s 491 employees. Only the maintenance staff, about a quarter of the work force, will remain on the job.
The Katahdin mills typically cease production for seven to 10 days every year, usually in April — the slow season for the paper industry — to service their biomass boilers and other equipment, paying maintenance workers overtime to work around the clock to bring the boilers back on line.
The Bangor Daily News is among three companies that placed the new orders, Peterson said. He declined to identify the other two, citing privacy concerns.
The shutdown is tentatively set to end on May 4, unless more orders come in.