“I think the biggest frustration was uncertainty. I think that is something we all certainly understand and we are trying to get to answers as quickly as we can.”
Keith Van Scotter, president of the Lincoln Tissue and Paper Mill, says he’s trying to help the indefinitely out-of-work employees sort through the confusion of a fast moving situation. He tells us the pulp end of their production is no longer feasible since negotiations with their insurance company leave them with a budget gap too large to repair the damaged recovery boiler and continue operations.
“That impacted our business seriously. Basically it made it impractical for us to manufacture pulp at a reasonable cost.”
“We want that recovery boiler rebuilt. We want all of the assets running like they were on the day we had this mishap. But, obviously we are not in control of that situation, the company is.”
As part of the union’s bargaining agreement, representatives and salaried employees will be able to meet with company officials next to week to discuss the issues. In the meantime, state officials are working to help former employees get through the winter.
“The administration, Governor LePage, and the Department of Labor, and the AFL-CIO are here to help the people who are going to be laid off.”
Next Thursday there will be what’s called a rapid response meeting at Mattanawcook Academy to help workers learn about unemployment benefits, food stamps, and other services. The school department is doing what they can to help too. They plan to offer adult education and vocational classes to help the workers prepare for a possible career change.
“This is a tragedy. It is going to be devastating. It is going to impact us. It is going to impact everybody in the community. We are talking about impacting the school department.”