December 05, 2019
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Bulk of 300 Jay mill layoffs to come before holiday season

Andree Kehn | Sun Journal
Andree Kehn | Sun Journal
Workers leave at the end of their shift at Verso Mill in Jay, Aug. 20, 2015.

PORTLAND, Maine — The bulk of 300 previously announced layoffs at Verso’s mill in Jay will come before the holidays, making for the second year in a row of fourth-quarter layoffs for the struggling U.S. paper giant.

Verso notified state officials and workers last week that the bulk of its previously announced layoffs would occur between Dec. 4 and Dec. 18. Additional layoffs would take place between Dec. 28 and Jan. 11 and a final batch of layoffs between June 16, 2016, and June 30, 2016.

The company notified state officials of the timeline for the layoffs in a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice, or WARN. The WARN Act requires employers to provide written notice of at least 60 calendar days in advance of possible plant closings and possible mass layoffs.

The company stated in its notice that it will shut down its No. 2 paper machine and a pulp dryer.

The Sun Journal reported the mill had already shut down the pulp dryer and shut down the paper machine over the weekend. The paper reported workers would be cleaning the machine, mothballing it and then doing general maintenance at the mill.

The shutdowns cut the mill’s annual coated paper production by 150,000 tons and its market pulp capacity by another 100,000 tons.

The company in August announced its plans to lay off 300 people at its Jay mill and 310 at a mill in Kentucky. It said then the layoffs would come at the end of this year or in early 2016.

The layoffs come less than a year after more than 500 Verso employees lost their jobs with the closure of the company’s Bucksport mill last December. After the layoffs, the Jay mill will employ about 560 people.

Verso, which purchased larger competitor NewPage for $1.4 billion in January, is awaiting final approval by a federal judge of the antitrust settlement that allowed the merger to move ahead.

The company has faced financial challenges since the acquisition. The New York Stock Exchange delisted the company from its exchange in September after its stock fell to 15 cents per share.

The company will announced its financial results for the third quarter of 2015 on Nov. 16.



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