Boise Paper Mill Plans to Lay of Hundreds by Next Week

By KBJR News 1

September 28, 2013 Updated Sep 28, 2013 at 7:07 PM CDT

International Falls, MN (NNCNOW.COM)

Boise Paper Mill plans to lay off hundreds of employees in International Falls with several workers already out the door.

Boise Paper Mill says decline in product consumption and a need to reduce costs prompted the closing of three of their machines... and the laying off of close to 300 people.

"They were primarily smaller, vintage machines that produced specialty products and they added complexity to our mill. And the fact that we had to purchase pulp from the outside, that made them higher cost machines, which was not sustainable in the long term," says Lori Lyman, Public Affairs Manager at the mill.

Capacity will be reduced by 115 tons per year. Soon to be former employees are now forced to ask themselves a difficult question. What's Next?

"I'm looking for new things to do. I got a job opportunity out in the oil fields for one. If I can get something closer to home I'll do that," says Joel Fults, an employee at Boise.

Some employees felt it was time to stop working entirely.

"We worked with the unions to put together packages for those that were ready to retire," Lyman informs.

But Boise has also seen a lot of celebration lately...going away parties giving employees a chance to say goodbye to longtime friends.

"I know most of the people that have been here 15 years or longer...it's a chance to say goodbye and it's very emotional and all that but, it is what it is, you just pick yourself up and keep moving," Fults adds.

Boise is currently assisting employees affected by the layoffs.

"We have a severance package for the salaried workforce according to our policy and outplacement services. We also worked very closely with the state rapid response team to ensure that workers have access to all of the benefits through the dislocated worker program," says Lyman.

Machines will begin closing Saturday. Layoffs will be concluded by October 1st.

Boise sales and marketing have been working with customers to help them transition to alternative suppliers.

Posted to the web by Gabrielle Ware