Most workers laid off at fire-damaged Sartell paper mill - New York News

Most workers laid off at fire-damaged Sartell paper mill

SARTELL, Minn. (AP) - Verso Paper has sent layoff notices to a large portion of its Sartell workforce after a devastating Memorial Day explosion and fire.

A cross stands outside the plant in honor of Jon Maus, the worker who died in the blast -- but the pain of loss is coming anew with a round of layoffs in a community that largely depends on the mill for work.

A spokesman for Verso, which is based in Maine, told the St. Cloud Times a "clear majority" of the mill's 259 hourly and salaried workers has been laid off.

Duffy Aleshire is a boilermaker who performed several jobs at the Verso paper plant, and he is one of many who -- though not employed full-time at the plant -- will feel the pain of its hiatus.

"It's a huge hit," he said. "Most people that work in that town work there, you know? It affects all the unions and everything else -- the whole community."

Spokesman Bill Cohen says a fraction of the staff remains involved in determining what would be required if the plant were to reopen. The mill likely will remain idle into the fall as the company waits to learn the exact cause of the explosion and a dollar amount to repair the damage.

Meanwhile, state leaders are stepping in with ideas for the site. Rep. Tim O'Driscoll is the former mayor of Sartell, and he -- along with Gov. Mark Dayton -- are encouraging Verso to remain committed to Minnesota.

"This could actually be an opportunity for the mill to do some expansion," O'Driscoll said.

Verso has reported more than 5,000 tons of finished paper and work-in-process inventory were destroyed. That could have a value of $5 million, based on industry costs. Much of the warehouse that was the site of the fire has been dismantled.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights are reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Road-trip vacations that don't break the bank

    Road-trip vacations that don't break the bank

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-07-31 21:37:29 GMT
    Last-minute vacations don't need to be a headache or ridiculously expensive, especially if you make it a road trip. Even if you don't have a car, renting one can be an affordable option.Lauren Lyons Cole, a personal finance contributor to TheStreet.com, has some suggestions.
    Last-minute vacations don't need to be a headache or ridiculously expensive, especially if you make it a road trip. Even if you don't have a car, renting one can be an affordable option.Lauren Lyons Cole, a personal finance contributor to TheStreet.com, has some suggestions.
  • Tennis star Caroline Wozniacki to run New York City Marathon

    Wozniacki to run NYC Marathon

    Thursday, July 31 2014 4:42 PM EDT2014-07-31 20:42:50 GMT
    Former No. 1-ranked tennis star Caroline Wozniacki plans to play a full tournament schedule this fall while fitting in time to train for the New York City Marathon. She said Thursday that she long had wanted to do a marathon and decided before Wimbledon that she could pull it off this year.
    Former No. 1-ranked tennis star Caroline Wozniacki plans to play a full tournament schedule this fall while fitting in time to train for the New York City Marathon. She said Thursday that she long had wanted to do a marathon and decided before Wimbledon that she could pull it off this year.
  • Trench collapse traps workers

    Trench collapse traps workers

    Thursday, July 31 2014 2:56 PM EDT2014-07-31 18:56:22 GMT
    Two construction workers were rescued from a collapsed trench outside a home in Rye, N.Y. on Thursday.  Firefighters from across Westchester County responded to the scene at 15 Bradford Ave. at about noon.
    Two construction workers were rescued from a collapsed trench outside a home in Rye, N.Y. on Thursday.  Firefighters from across Westchester County responded to the scene at 15 Bradford Ave. at about noon.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices