Verso Corporation announced it will permanently close its 130 year old paper mill in Luke, Maryland, in response to the continuing decline in customer demand for the grades of coated freesheet paper produced at the mill, along with rising input costs, a significant influx of imports, and rising compliance costs and infrastructure challenges associated with recent environmental regulation changes. The closure, which is expected to be complete by June 30, will reduce Verso’s coated freesheet production capacity by approximately 450,000 tons, reducing total annual paper production capacity to approximately 2.7 million tons.
Loss of 450,000 Coated Paper Tons-WOW
Most of the Luke Mill’s paper grades are already qualified to be produced on other Verso paper machines, and the company is working to assure all customer needs are met.
Approximately 675 employees will be impacted by the closure of the Luke Mill. Employees were notified in accordance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act that their last day of employment with Verso is expected to be June 30. Eligible hourly employees will receive a severance allowance in accordance with local collective bargaining agreements, and the company will begin effects bargaining with the local unions soon. Salaried employees will receive a severance allowance in accordance with Verso’s established severance policy. In compliance with the WARN Act, Verso sent notification of the decision to close the mill to the appropriate authorities in Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia, and will continue to work with state and local officials to help Luke Mill employees take full advantage of all available support resources.