Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

October 29, 2020

67 more employees laid off at Jay paper mill, still recovering from April explosion

File photo The Androscoggin Mill in Jay, shown in this 2018 photo, was the site an April explosion that has led to layoffs of over 170 workers.

A third layoff since July at the Jay paper mill previously crippled by an industrial explosion has put 67 more employees out of work.

The layoff on Wednesday is the largest of three that Pennsylvania-based Pixelle Specialty Solutions has made following the April 15 rupture of a pulp digester, which sent plumes of debris and smoke into the air but miraculously injured no one. 

The accident, still under investigation, forced Pixelle to close the mill’s pulp production. After arranging other pulp supplies, the mill laid off 59 workers in July and 51 in September. The total of the layoffs, 177, represent more than a third of the plant’s roughly 500-employee workforce earlier this year.

On July 9, Pixelle said it would reduce the mill’s employment over time in order to operate competitively under its scaled-down configuration. In a statement Wednesday, Manager Eric Hanson said the mill expects to complete fixing damage, determining the root cause of the rupture, and developing a new strategic plan before the end of the year.

“This process is time-intensive and we need to execute correctly to help ensure long-term success,” Hanson said. “The mill’s employees are extraordinary. With the digester rupture occurring in the middle of the pandemic and its related impacts, they have operated the mill in a safe and environmentally responsible manner and provided exceptional product quality and service to our customers.”

The laid-off workers will receive compensation, benefits and job placement assistance, he added. Meanwhile, the Jay plant is continuing to produce specialty products with two functioning paper machines.

Pixelle, which is privately owned and currently has about 2,400 employees, purchased the Androscoggin Mill, along with one in Wisconsin, in February from Verso Corp. (NYSE: VRS). The $400 million deal followed a contentious dispute with an investor group, which had made several takeover attempts of Verso since 2017.

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Order a PDF