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ND Paper Mill in Rumford to Lay Off Workers in Transfer to White Paper Production

Andy O’Brien
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Nine Dragons Paper is laying off up to 65 workers due to operational changes in paper production. The company announced Friday that it needs to temporarily shut down to convert a paper machine from producing packaging paper to bleached liner board and pulp in order to adjust to consumer demand due to a decline in the brown paper market.

A rapid response team has been dispatched to the USW 900 union hall to provide employee assistance to everyone impacted. There are about 530 full-time employees at the Rumford Mill.

The company told the USW 900 that about 100 workers will be affected, with up to 65 layoffs and the rest will be absorbed into other departments in the mill. USW 900 President Judilee Whittemore said she is “optimistic” that workers won’t be laid off long because the mill is already short handed.

“I’ve been in the mill 34 year now so I’ve seen a lot of these types of layoffs and it’s hard to tell a junior person just coming in not to panic because this is all new to them and they don’t understand how the paper market works,” said Whittemore. “We just try to tell them to stay calm, focus on your job and stay safe. If you do get laid off you can find another job, but you may get called back sooner than you think.”

"We know the decision for market related downtime will have a significant impact on our team members and their families," the NP Paper wrote in a statement. "We will be working with affected employees to help them access the resources needed to identify alternative employment opportunities.”